Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban in 2018, sports gambling has exploded in popularity. According to the American Gaming Association, a record 46.6 million people planned to bet on the 2022-2023 NFL season. That’s nearly 18 percent of all American adults! If you’re planning on getting in on the action, first learn how you can maximize your fun and play responsibly. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers the following tips for responsible sports betting:
- Understand gambling terminology. A basic wager in which you bet on who will win a game is called a money line bet, but there are many other terms you’ll need to get to know as well. Get familiar with point-spread, prop and futures bets and how each works. In addition, learn what terms like juice, parlay, total and teaser mean before you start placing bets.
- Get familiar with sports statistics. It should go without saying, but don’t place a bet without researching. Use reputable sources to get statistical breakdowns on the teams and players on whom you want to bet to ensure the odds are in your favor.
- Set limits for yourself. The International Center for Responsible Gaming (ICRG) recommends establishing what constitutes an acceptable loss before you start gambling. Knowing when to stop and only gambling with money you can afford to lose is critical. You might also want to set time limits for yourself regarding sports betting.
- Avoid high-risk betting. Don’t borrow money to gamble, and avoid gambling if you are emotionally distressed. Remember that gambling under the influence of alcohol is risky since your good judgment could be compromised.
- Only place bets with reputable bookmakers. Whether you’re placing a bet in person or online, only use “white-listed” sports books that your local gaming commission approves.
- Be wary of paid handicappers. Sports handicappers might offer amazing odds, thanks to “insider information,” but often scams are behind their too-good-to-be-true promises. Some handicappers offer money-back guarantees or free picks if you make a losing wager, but these are also signs of a scam.
- Watch out for scams. Handicappers aren’t the only source of scams regarding sports betting. Watch out for pop-up gambling ads, email spam or text messages that take you to websites offering “risk-free” bets, exaggerated incentives or deceptive bonuses. Bogus betting websites often use these tactics to draw in unsuspecting customers.
- Get help if you need it. If you suspect you or a loved one suffers from a gambling addiction, get help from the National Council on Problem Gambling. You can call their hotline or find other resources available in your state.
For more information
Get tips on spotting sports betting scams at https://www.bbb.org/article/scams /26620-bbb-scam-alert-betting-on-a-big-game-dont-fall-for-a-sports-betting-scam. Get expert advice on how to spot a scam by visiting BBB.org/SpotaScam. If you spot suspicious activity or dishonest business practices when placing sports bets, report your experience to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to a scam.