Sports Betting in our Digital Age

Gambling is one of mankind’s oldest activities. It has continued to occupy our modern world as a pastime for many.  

Betting dates back to the Paleolithic period. One of gambling’s most notable devices, the six-sided dice, even dates back to about 3000 B.C. in Mesopotamia. Tiles recovered from ancient China are believed to have been used in many lottery-type games. Cards are believed to have first appeared in China as early as the 9th century. And even the Ancient Romans dipped into their bank accounts to bet on gladiators battling to the death.

As gambling spread and evolved across cultures, it became more organized and regulated; the most significant change was the incorporation of technology. Leading up to this year’s Super Bowl, around 23 million Americans planned to bet a total of $4.3 billion on the game, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). An all-time high of 7.6 million people said they would bet online, which is more than a 60 percent increase from last year. Technology has made the betting process much easier — it’s as simple as sitting on the couch and tapping a button — but the accessibility of gambling hasn’t decreased its risks. The immense rise of gamblers as a result of advanced technology highlights the personal and social problem of pathological gambling, in which individuals are unable to control their gambling addiction. 

Technology is one of the leading causes of the rise of sports betting, but it’s not the only reason. The COVID pandemic may well have been a major psychological factor in this rise. Adults and teens alike acquired bad habits as they became lonely, and faced extreme mental challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidality. Sports betting can serve as an outlet for these mental health struggles. Betting should be done in moderation with small amounts in order for it to be healthy, even as at the same time this may take away the thrill that many gamblers chase.  Part of the appeal of sports gambling is the thrill and excitement; many are always eager for action or excitement out of boredom, while others say that they have acquired this pastime out of love for their favorite team.

There are other ways of thinking about gambling. Many people around the world enjoy sports betting and aren’t affected by the adverse side effects. It’s a great way to socialize and have fun with friends, it doesn’t have to be addictive and, of course, it is a way to win money. Sports betting can be a great hobby if you’re responsible for the money you spend. As the saying goes, bet with your head, not over it. 


If you or someone you know struggles with a gambling addiction, please seek help. Here are some resources. 

The National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700)