FLORIDA — The expansion of legal betting has a Florida advocacy group worrying about increased gambling addictions.
The deal reached by Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe earlier this year will allow sports betting in Florida. The agreement includes in-person and online sports betting.
Jennifer Kruse, the Executive Director of The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, said online gambling allows people struggling to hide behind closed doors.
"It fosters gambling in isolation, so sometimes family members and friends may not see those typical warning signs. Somebody doesn't have to leave the house to go to the casino to place a bet or to go to the store to buy a lottery ticket. They can sit right on the couch next to you on their phone and you may not know what they're doing," she said.
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling remains neutral on gambling issues but wants to support those struggling. She said with the expansion, there will be an increased probability of people developing a gambling addiction. She said her certain group tends to see groups prone to online gambling compulsion.
"We see a younger demographic they tend to be male. Younger men who were white male and they have higher incomes, too, so I think that the possibility for them to get into deeper financial trouble much quicker is certainly there," Kruse said.
There are warning signs that can help you spot signs of trouble.
She said things like needing to gamble with more money, losing relationships to gambling and financial trouble are some of those signs.
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling also has a hotline where those struggling can reach out for help.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can call 888-ADMIT-IT.