OPELOUSAS, L.a. — Mobile sports betting goes live Friday morning at 8 o'clock.
Last year, voters in 55 of the state's 64 parishes approved the change — which will be available to bettors 24/7 on approved platforms. Some, however, express concern surrounding the potential for negative effects.
"You know, I don't believe in just trying anything, you know what I'm saying?" said Ronald Butte, a resident of Opelousas.
"You could actually have too much access to something," said Keith Aggison, another resident of Opelousas. "I think ya gotta have some kind of control over it."
KATC spoke with Craig Laseur, clinical program director at the Hero Program of New Beginnings Recovery Center, who said these are valid points. In his 22 years of experience, he told us addiction in any form often starts out the same.
"When we look at addiction and obviously ease of access it becomes, you know, problematic, but we also think of addiction as disconnection," Laseur said. "So if I'm able to disconnect, isolate, and still engage in the behavior and it's more available to me, obviously that can be problematic."
Laseur said this ease of access could come at a greater cost to one group in particular.
"The younger age groups are able to get involved and become habituated to it at an earlier age as well, which I think would be — I think would be concerning," Laseur said.
Some of the most popular platforms for mobile sports betting include Draft Kings and FanDuel. A representative for FanDuel told KATC their platform has an algorithm that alerts users when they've been on for an extended period of time — even allowing time limits to be set within the app.
At the end of the day, Laseur says monitoring potential signs of addiction and acknowledging when there's a problem is up to the individual and their loved ones, mentioning this innovation appears to be a sign of the times and a means of staying current.
"Is gambling, because it's done remotely on a phone, is that going to make more people addicts? I mean I don't know the answer to that," Laseur said. "But I do know that like the ease of access will take those who probably already have it and make it — it has the potential to make it worse."
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