TAMPA, Fla. - With sports betting through the Seminole Tribe now in the palms of Floridians' hands Forrest Arthur, a Tampa Bay addiction specialist, said he's expecting to see a spike in gambling addiction cases fueled by the ease of access.
"It is being made so easy and pushed on people, so aggressively there's inevitably going to be more trouble from it," Arthur explained.
The Seminole Tribe relaunched its mobile betting app on Tuesday. It's currently only available to pre-existing users.
Arthur is the CEO of Resurgence Tampa Bay, an abuse treatment facility. He said overcoming gambling addiction can be extremely difficult and often requires years of complete abstinence from it.
The Responsible Gaming Council said problem gambling affects the brain's reward system which can lead to a loss of control.
"I’ve seen people give up their homes, families and their health," Arthur shared. "Imagine the opioid addict addicted to fentanyl who’s trying to recover, they have to work around, with fentanyl in their pocket, it's not going to work," he added.
Signs of gambling addiction can include: sudden financial issues, changes in behavior and lying to friends and family.
"In short take it seriously and recognize you need to take dramatic action, it's probably going to worsen if you don’t," Arthur said.