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Making Sure the “House” Wins: How Sports Gambling Can Negatively Impact Your Family Relationships

On the two-year anniversary of mobile sports wagering being allowed in New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul announced earlier this year that, in total, New York has collected more than $1.55 billion in taxes on such bets. Along with another $200 million in licensing fees from popular betting apps like Fanduel and DraftKings, New York’s $1.75 billion in total generated revenue has shattered national records for mobile sports wagering revenue.

These numbers are expected to increase in 2024 as more individuals download these apps due to promotional wagers and odds boosts offered for events like the Super Bowl in February and the NCAA men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments in March (“March Madness”).

While Governor Hochul has received much praise for the significant influx of funds, which, in fairness, are projected to go towards education and youth sports, there is a much darker stat that is not being talked about as much, which is that the New York State Gaming Commission saw a 26% increase in problem gambling related calls in its first year of allowing mobile betting.

While many of these calls presumably were about the financial consequences many face when they problem gamble, there are other consequences that can arise due to gambling that oftentimes cost people their relationships and mental health, which many may agree, is worth more than any dollar amount.

The NY Office of Addiction Services and Supports does offer a 24/7 gambling HOPEline for individuals struggling with gambling addiction, but anyone who does decide to gamble should consider the following common dangers of mobile sports gambling so they can be aware of the consequences and how it can negatively impact your family relationships.

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Don’t Bet the House on it…How Sports Betting Becomes a Family Problem

Plain and simple, family and relationship problems arise when there are “traditional” addictive habits involved with the gambler. Whether it be to lie or steal from friends and family, the emotional and financial stress of living with someone who is addicted to sports betting can lead to an excess of confrontation, which can spiral into further issues like separation or divorce. What’s worse is that these arguments generally tend to create a toxic home environment, jeopardizing parents’ abilities to care for their children or provide for them.

To dive into things further, our firm has seen many cases prior to mobile sports betting where addictive gambling tendencies have led to issues of domestic violence or child neglect. This has only increased in the wake of mobile sports gambling. Prior to mobile sports gambling, individuals would have to contact a bookie or drive to a casino to place their sports bets; however, now, nothing is stopping an individual from sitting home (or, in some cases, shirking their work duties) to place and track their bets all day rather than spend time with their spouse, children, or family.

Even outside of traditional win-or-loss bets, these online betting site companies have successfully gamified the entire sporting match, allowing people to bet on every minute of the action, even after the game has started. These are perfect ways to trap bettors and keep them thinking about the ongoing game/season rather than just on their occasional trip to the casino.

Additionally, some individuals may choose to indulge in either alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs during these sports matches, which can impair their judgments when it comes to placing their bets, the amount of the bet, as well as the frequency with which they choose to place them. This can be a volatile, downward spiral, as any family lawyer can tell you.

When it comes to issues of finances and alcohol and drug usage in a marriage or family, emotions tend to run high. If a partner is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and places obnoxiously large bets or loses said bets and takes out their frustrations on their partner and children, they will have a difficult time maintaining any future relationship with their families and will most likely lose their family as well as face criminal charges.

Speaking of criminal charges, in some cases, people who are addicted to sports betting have even turned to crime when all of their legitimate (or “legitimate”) sources of funds have run out. This can range from theft or embezzlement to insurance or tax fraud to try and get their portfolio stocked.

Regardless, sports gambling in New York State is poised to cement itself as one of the most common reasons we see for family and matrimonial issues, criminal matters, and child/spousal abuse.

Little League Players, Major League Problems. How Sports Gambling Can Become a Problem for Your Children

To add on to how addicting sports gambling has become, many of those in the younger generation have begun to pick up sports gambling as an additional way to interact with their favorite sports team. While healthy in moderation, this is rarely the case. As indicated in a study by the National Council on Problem Gambling in 2021, over half of respondents aged 35 or younger responded “yes” to at least one indicator of risky behavior when it came to gambling addictions.

Additionally, one in five respondents of all surveyed stated that they had previously placed a sports bet despite it being illegal for them to do so (whether it was illegal in their state or doing so underage). With legal restrictions having little impact on gambling participation, many youths are left vulnerable to developing bad habits that, left unchecked, could call into question your ability to care for your child. If your child were to be accused of criminal activity linked to the desire to gamble, and should you do so irresponsibly yourself, the odds of you maintaining your relationship with your child could be long.

You can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via phone at 8885294543, by e-mail at or by clicking the button below:

Smart Money Makes Money, So Be Smart with Your Money

It takes a lot of courage to decide to change your gambling habits. While it may be tempting to try and hide your losses, better relationships and healthier family ties all start with the decision to make the first move. The one positive about how prevalent sports gambling addiction has become is that there are many ways you can try to tackle these issues. So if you or someone you know is struggling with moderation when it comes to sports gambling or your partner’s gambling habits, it may be worth having a discussion with them or legal counsel to best protect your and your family’s future.

For years, Michael has been relentlessly fighting for the rights of spouses, parents, and grandparents in virtually every aspect of family and matrimonial law. As a Partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC, Michael provides representation in matters relating to divorce, parental alienation, separation agreements, annulments, child custody, child support, modifications to child support and child custody, enforcement of divorce decrees, spousal maintenance, pre-and post-nuptial agreements, orders of protection and family offenses. He can be reached at or at 8885294543.

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