March 25, 2024 3 min read


ETSU Gambling Clinic Notices Rise in Visits Among Youngsters

East Tennessee State University’s gambling clinic has reported an increase in the number of young men and women visiting the clinic lately

In the context of the current 2024 NCAA Tournament and the legalization of mobile sports bets in Tennessee and its spectacular effects, the personnel at East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) gambling clinic have announced an outbreak in the number of young individuals visiting the clinic for gambling-related problems. 

ETSU uses a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to treat gambling addicts in the Volunteer State and it is the second clinic of its kind there. 

Traditional Brackets, “Now at People’s Fingertips”

According to The Gambling Clinic’s director, Dr. Meredith Ginley, the fact that traditional brackets “are now at people’s fingertips” can prove to cause problems for some people, with special emphasis on the younger population.

Ginley explained that the fact that sports betting becomes legal for any individual the second they turn 21 activity has turned sports wagering talks with younger kids into a norm.

Moreover, according to the clinic’s observations, both young men and women have started to visit the clinic and ask for help in the same current context.

Ginley further added that the easy access to information regarding the games via mobile sports betting apps that constantly offer odds and create “a lot more opportunities” for new parlay bets and in-game betting increases the risk of addictive gambling problems.

Namely, the clinic has noticed that individuals who experience gambling problems are more prone to spend more money and get themselves into “more financial harm” when subject to increased marketing and additional “opportunities to access the means of engagement.”

Gambling Issues, Not Easy to Spot

The clinic’s director emphasized the fact that gambling problems can be difficult to notice. 

She indicated that some of the signs to be on the lookout for are found in people’s spending habits, which go well past their limit, as well as the habit of following game results, which further causes difficulty with completing regular job tasks or failing to spend time with friends and family.

The clinic offers responsible gambling advice that is very similar to the one offered to individuals who suffer from responsible drinking issues.

Ginley also emphasized the need to inform friends about one’s gambling limits as well as discuss any concerns about potentially problematic gambling behavior.

Other recommendations from the clinic refer to staying within the limits of one’s budget and steering clear from alcohol consumption while engaged in a form of gambling when concerned about financial issues.

While gambling does not cause harm for most people, TIGER data speaks about over 200,000 Tennesseans who are prone to experience some kind of gambling harm and another 100,000 for whom the level of harm can be diagnosed as a gambling disorder

Moreover, each individual who has been officially diagnosed with a gambling disorder will affect six other people

Some of the most common gambling-related harms refer to dealing with mental health issues like depression that can lead to suicidal tendencies, filing for bankruptcy, or causing irreparable damage to family relationships

Earlier in the month, a report from the Tennessee Sports Wagering Council revealed that the state recorded a 13.4% YoY rise in sports betting handle, despite the recorded monthly decline. 

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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