Sports betting

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Governor Doug Ducey is expected to sign a new sports betting bill into law Thursday, paving the way for Arizonans to place a wager on their favorite sports team. The new law will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the state. But there are concerns that legalized sports betting will have a negative impact on a lot of families.

A former gambler named "Chuck" is living proof that betting on sports can ruin your life.

"The more and more I did, the more and more I had to do it, and more and more money I had to play," said Chuck. "Because a $5 bet didn't get my juices flowing anymore, it had to be $50, or $500, or $5000."

Every day for 10-plus years, Chuck would wager big money with a bookie on any game that was on, Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA. He'd often place bets he couldn't afford, draining his bank accounts, his 401K, even taking out loans.

"Eventually, you run out of your own money," said Chuck. "I had to turn to other people's money, so I started stealing money, and that went on for a lot of years."

The successful professional lost his family, home and went to prison for stealing from his own company. Now he's concerned that the same thing could happen to other Arizonans once the Governor legalizes sports gambling across the state.

"There's a certain percentage of us that are going to get hooked on it. That's just the reality," said Chuck. "The availability and addictive nature are going to find each other."

Chuck admits plenty of people are capable of gambling responsibly, who won't fall into the same addictive traps he did. But for the gamblers who can't stop, Chuck wants help readily available.

"My hope is whatever they set up, they put some funding aside for treatment for people who have a compulsive gambling or pathological gambling problem," said Chuck. "I think it's going to be a problem."

The new sports betting bill reportedly includes provisions to provide gambling education and addiction services. If you or someone you know needs help with a gambling problem, click here.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 

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