It's getting increasingly easier to gamble on your phone. In a piece for Vice, Maxwell Strachan looks at how the gambling scene has changed of late and the impact that's having, particularly on young men. He zeroes in on Illinois and New York, which have now legalized online sports gambling, earning them hundreds of millions in tax revenue. In New York, a staggering $1.6 billion in online bets were placed in month one. Strachan speaks with a woman affiliated with Gamblers Anonymous who says that in the three years online sports betting has been legal in Illinois, the number of young men coming in has jumped. Experts say that as gambling increasingly moves online, problematic gambling becomes increasingly tougher to spot.
That was the case with Jason, an occasional gambler who would sometimes blow off steam at casinos. But his trips there raised questions about where he was going, or had been. With his phone, "I didn’t have to explain where I was or anything like that. I didn't have to answer to anybody. Being able to just sit in bed and go on my phone and gamble made it almost impossible to stop." He participated in online casino gambling, which wasn't legal in Illinois, but he found "there was never any red tape to get past in order to play those games"—and as Strachan writes, gambling "has become more wholly legitimized," with casinos permitted in more than 20 states; that number was nine in 2001. In Jason's eyes, what he was doing didn't feel "seedy." And by the time he joined Gamblers Anonymous, Jason had lost a "couple hundred thousand dollars." (Read the full story.)