CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Gambling on sporting events, per the WV Sports Lottery Wagering Act, went live in West Virginia at the end of 2018. As long as you visit the casinos in the state that offer it, you can place a bet on whatever suits your fancy—or, if you prefer, you may do this from a computer or mobile device (as long as you are within state borders).
We’ve been told countless cautionary tales about what can happen if gambling takes a hold of your life—hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, broken relationships—but betting on sporting events may be more akin to playing poker or blackjack than slot machines or roulette.
According to the Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia, the two primary types of gamblers are escape gamblers and action gamblers. The escape gambler may just play to get away from life’s responsibilities or stressors, but the action gambler may be attempting to beat the odds—believing in skill or some other factor.
Dr. Jason Newsome of Dayspring Counseling says that while compulsive behaviors can be rooted in escapism or attempting to improve life circumstances, they can play on the human brain’s reward response, motivating us to continue.
Couple this with your cell phone—the one thing many of us cannot live without, which almost effortlessly captures our attention with some sort of notification (text message, social media, email, games)—and you might find it much easier to open the door to problem gambling.