Calls to Michigan Gambling Hotline Peaked After Online Gambling became Legal
Calls to Michigan Gambling Hotline Peaked After Online Sports Betting became Legal. The decision to legalize online sports betting became a hot topic, resulting in an increase in calls to the Michigan gambling hotline. According to experts, the reason behind the surge was people’s misunderstanding of the hotline’s purpose.
The total number of calls received by the Michigan Gambling hotline amounted to 563 within February alone. The number was over 5x of that in February 2020, showing how popular online gambling is getting. Even the Lansing State Journal believes the increasing interest in online sports betting and gambling is the result of the decision in January 2021.
Experts’ Take on the Increasing Growth of Online Gambling.
Michelle Malkin (a doctoral student at the Michigan State University) stated that the reason behind the surge is obvious. Casinos are operating moderately, and the possible reason behind the situation is the growth of online gambling.
According to Lori Mello (the Michigan Problem Gambling treatment initiative’s Program Manager), people mistook why the hotline was there. People genuinely called because they were having trouble with the site or the way they were gambling. Mello further added that the increase in depression and isolation is adding to gambling patterns.
Another expert shared a similar opinion regarding the situation. Alia Lucas (a specialist in the gambling treatment and prevention field) stated that the pandemic had forced everyone to stay remote. With minimized physical activity, people are turning to easily accessible means of entertainment like online gambling.
The Hotline is for Gambling Prevention, Not Assistance.
Back in 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer passed a bipartisan law package regarding online gambling. Ever since the decision, the interest in the trend has been growing.
Between January and March alone, the online operators at the Michigan Gaming Control Board gathered 260 million dollars worth of receipts. The hotline provided by the state is to help people connect with counselors to avail of treatment and information regarding gambling prevention.
The hotline is not outright against gambling, but it helps people who are compromising their lives due to gambling. The goal of the hotline is to encourage an environment where people are aware of their situation and how they can get help regarding it. The helpline 1-800-270-7117 is online 24/7 and provides a confidential service.
The pandemic has brought several misfortunes, and an increase in troubled online gambling is one of them. Due to the rise in online betting and gambling tendencies, the Michigan gambling helpline experienced an increase in calls. The hotline’s aim is to increase awareness regarding the problematic aspects of gambling and not promote it. Given the pandemic, the tendency to gamble is expected to surge, but Michigan residents can always call the hotline to get help controlling it.