March Madness poses pitfalls for problem gamblers

    By: Tom MacDonald

    The NCAA Tournament begins this weekend. Betting on the games is underway, but an expert says it could transform a casual gambler into a compulsive one.

    By: Tom MacDonald
    tmacdonald@whyy.org

    The NCAA Tournament begins this weekend. Betting on the games is underway, but an expert says it could transform a casual gambler into a compulsive one.

    Transcript:
    Donald Weinbaum is Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling in New Jersey. He says the Tournament, better known as March Madness, is attractive to gamblers.

    Weinbaum: “There are a lot of games going on and in the office environment is such there are pools, it brings out the more casual betters. It’s a tough time for compulsive gamblers, just because of the level of energy, every time you turn around there’s talk about games.”

    Weinbaum says that environment can be an incubator for compulsive gamblers. He says symptoms of compulsive gambling include obsession with the games, and thinking about the next bet after a long losing streak.

    Share your story!
    Are you planning on taking part in an NCAA office pool this year? Is this your first or are you a long time fan of March Madness? Share your thoughts about this activity – harmless fun or gateway to larger problems?

    Listen:
    Click on the play button below or right click on this link and choose “Save Link As” to download.

    [audio: reports20090317ncaa.mp3]

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.