Seems like yesterday that gambling was seen as a serious problem among a tiny sliver of the American populace; something that Bob in Accounting was sadly addicted to and which had ended any chance he had at a stable relationship and which would ultimately result in his dismissal from the firm because he was considered too High Risk to be allowed around company money. It was one of those Shameful Issues you whispered about at family reunions along with another member's alcohol problem or chronic philandering. It was something the More Odd people you knew did from time to time during trips to Las Vegas, a place you had no real interest in going to because pretty much the only thing to do there was risk your hard-earned money spinning wheels, rolling dice and pulling levers while being assaulted by endless blinking lights, clanging bells and sirens, sirens, sirens.
All of a sudden, gambling is mainstream, fun and easy. You can do it from your laptop or your phone. You can bet on every play in every game and you don't have to feel all dirty inside because you called a bookie. You can use a credit card so there's no fear of someone showing up to break your legs when you lose and are short on cash. And best of all, pretty much every sports "hero" you've ever liked is on television telling you how awesome it all is- look, it's the Manning brothers! Everyone loves the Manning brothers!
bloodsuckers just-for-entertainment gambling sites even use the favorite strategy of every successful drug dealer ever, giving out free samples to get you hooked. What's not to like? Well, I mean, other than the gambling addiction which must by definition leave the vast majority of Users poorer- but hey, that's why there's that tiny disclaimer with the 800 number about dealing with that gambling addiction that you can almost read if you freeze the screen and squint really, really hard.
And if ads glamorizing gambling weren't enough, well, entire NFL pregame shows are dedicated to showing you how easy it is to "beat the system" if you just invest more of your time in devouring stats which by the way are sponsored by those gambling sites. Yeah, nothing socially isolating about any of this. Personally, I think I'd rather have someone in my family addicted to cigarettes or painkillers than getting into this time-and-wallet vampire crap.
The market is down again, which means 401(k)s are down again. When the economy sinks, three industries soar: Dollar Stores, Pawn Shops, and Gambling. Use of only one is designated an addiction. This is not going to end well for anybody.