With Betting Numbers Booming, Illinois To Further Study Problem Gambling

Written By Joe Boozell on December 24, 2020 - Last Updated on June 23, 2021

In late November, The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced it would conduct a yearlong, statewide study on gambling and gambling addiction.

Such a study hasn’t been conducted in a long time, according to Illinois Council on Problem Gambling Administrator Bill Johnson.

“I know we haven’t done a needs assessment since 1990, I think was the last one in Illinois. That’s 30 years ago. And there has been so many changes in the gambling opportunities and the gambling types.”

For starters, online sports betting is now legal in the Land of Lincoln.

Signing up is as easy as downloading your preferred app and making a deposit. There are five mobile sportsbooks in Illinois: DraftKings, BetRivers, FanDuel, PointsBet and William Hill Illinois.

“We have not seen an uptick at this point, but we expect to see an uptick in the coming year,” Johnson said.

Potential for problem gambling in Illinois

The IDHS is allocating $500,000 toward the study. IDHS secretary Grace Hou said in a statement:

“Understanding the pervasiveness of gambling disorder will allow us to target communities that may be disproportionality impacted by the expansion of gambling in the state.”

About 2% of people who gamble or are exposed to gambling become addicts, according to Johnson.

How to play responsibly

Here are a few tips to bet responsibly:

  • Set a Fixed Budget: Only allow yourself to lose a fixed amount of money over a certain period of time. If you lose that amount, stop gambling for the foreseeable future.
  • Treat Gambling as a Form of Entertainment: If you are willing to do the necessary homework to become a “sharp,” great. If not, that’s perfectly fine, but look at potential losses simply as a cost of entertainment. Obviously, there’s a decent chance you will win. But if you merely view it as entertainment, you won’t be as inclined to chase losses.
  • Pick Times to Quit While You’re Ahead: If you’re consistently winning, great! But that can also be a time to stop, as opposed to thinking you’re going to double or triple your money.
  • Don’t Borrow Money For Gambling: Only gamble what you can afford to lose.
  • Don’t Gamble When Drunk: This one should be self-explanatory.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER or 1-800-426-2537 for help. The Illinois Gaming Board also has resources in place to help problem gamblers.

Sports betting is booming in Illinois

October’s sports betting revenue numbers recently came out, and Illinois shattered expectations once again.

Illinoisans wagered $434.6 million in total, up from $305.2 million in September.

Illinois is now the No. 4 betting state in the US, and it’s easily the youngest among the competition.

Pennsylvania posted $525.8 million in handle in October, and there’s reason to believe Illinois will jump into the No. 3 spot soon.

While it’s entertaining for the customer, good for the economy and helpful for the state budget, none of that should come at the expense of responsible gaming.

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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