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New survey on mobile sports betting: 39% of us bet on sports

This stock image shows a man using his cellphone to access a sports betting site.
Adobe Stock
This stock image shows a man using his cellphone to access a sports betting site.

A recent national survey taken by Albany’s Siena College, and St. Bonaventure University in Western New York reflects the recent increase in online sports betting.

It shows that 39% of Americans bet on sporting events and 19% have an account with an online sports betting service.

Don Levy, Director of the Siena College Research Institute, said that the survey also shows a number of those involved in online sports betting have indicated they’ve had some regrets.

“40% say that at some point or another, they have felt ashamed after losing and virtually the same percentage, 38%, say that they have bet more than they should have on an online sports book at some point,” said Levy.

New York state approved mobile sports betting in early 2022, and Levy said there apparently has been a pretty rapid rise in online gaming.

“I think that we will see that this is a significant percentage of Americans, a very significant percentage of young people, most especially young men, and the signs do point to growth rather than a decline in online sports betting,” said Levy.”

The Siena-St. Bonaventure survey shows that 39% of men, 18-49 years old and 20% of women, 18-49, have an account with an online sports betting service.

Jeffrey Wierzbicki is a Team Leader with Problem Gambling Resource Centers in Western NY and the Finger Lakes. That nonprofit is part of the New York Council on Problem Gambling with the New York Council on Problem Gambling.

He said they have seen a lot of young people who have gotten in over their heads while being involved in sports betting.

“We’ve had a lot of college students that are reaching out; in such a short amount of time, they’re burning through all of their college money, their money for their semester, and they’re getting involved with this online sports betting, mobile sports betting,” said Wierzbicki.

Wierzbicki said that it’s pretty easy to know if you are someone with a gambling addiction.

“You know, we have a pretty basic definition of problem gambling, if it's causing a problem, it's problem gambling,” said Wierzbicki. “So whether that's financial, could just be experiencing anxiety or depression, worrying at night about not being able to pay the bills. (Also) If your spouse or a loved one is telling you, you're gambling too much.”

Jennifer Faringer is Director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencein the Rochester area, which is also part of DePaul, a not-for-profit organization which provides a variety of addiction and other services.

She said the increase in problems affecting some mobile sports bettors was predictable, especially because of the number of young people who are on their smartphones all day.

Faringer also said gambling is also referred to as “a silent addiction,” unlike something like drugs for instance, where the initial signs of an addiction are more obvious.

She referred to anecdotes she has heard in her counseling efforts, such as people with a gambling addiction saying things like, ‘My significant other, my wife, my spouse, didn’t know, until they went, for example, to find out the house has been mortgaged for the second time,’ (or) ‘oh, the 529 for the college fund is gone.’ “They didn’t find out until way down the road,” Faringer said.

There are resources you can look for help with problem gambling, including checking out the website for New York Problem Gambling,, and you can also call the New York state helpline, 1-877-8-HOPENY(467369), or a Rochester #, 585-351-2262.

This story includes reporting by Ian Pickus of WAMC radio in Albany.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.