Betting is a very popular activity and one that can be found in almost every part of the world; its human nature to place wagers and hope to win money.
However, the changing nature of betting has resulted in some worrisome consequences, especially since the industry is now worth billions of dollars and has millions of participants of all age groups.
Sports betting is the fastest expanding segment in this industry and the fact that it has become a normal social activity is of immense concern to some people, as a few studies into the problem have indicated.
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has had a study done by Macquarie University in association with the Swinburne University of Technology to better understand the effects of sports betting on social behaviour.
The results of the study have been eye opening in that it indicates that sports betting can lead to risky behaviour if it goes mainstream.
The study, conducted by Dr Ross Gordon and Dr Lauren Gurrieri from Macquarie and Swinburne respectively, focused on sports bettors between the ages of 18 and 30.
It indicated that people who bet on sports derived satisfaction from the social aspect of the activity and that they were easily influenced by various lifestyle consumption suggestions from the communities they were a part of.
For these people, gambling becomes a means to an end, which is to fit in with the particular group.
Therefore, they are likely to keep gambling beyond reasonable limits in order to keep up with the rest of the group, with the consequence that overall levels of gambling would increase.
Unrestrained gambling has negative consequences not only for the gambler, but also for their families and society.
One of the biggest issues brought about by the current trend of online gambling is that people are finding it very easy to feed their addiction.
Whereas previously a gambler would have to go to a casino to gamble, and the effort taken to get there would eat into the time available for gambling, these days a person can just sit down at his or her computer to begin placing wagers.
It is even possible to gamble from a mobile device and this makes it even easier for the addict.
The increasing numbers of people coming to gambling treatment clinics is ample testimony to the effect that gambling has on people.
Most of the people who come for treatment for gambling addictions are actually obsessed with sports betting.
This is very clear to see from the fact that the start of the football season sees large numbers of people, mostly young men, coming in for help with their gambling addictions.
In contrast, a few years ago most compulsive gamblers used to be addicted to poker machines.
The ease with which gambling can be done means that people can now lose a lot of money within a short time even without leaving their homes.
The gambling industry definitely needs to address this problem since it is poised for further growth!