Greg Weber started playing poker with his friends at 13 years old. Chris Moneymaker, an accountant from Tennessee, won the World Series of Poker in 2003 and caused a boom in poker interest. Poker was popular with Weber because it appealed to his competitive instincts. Weber didn't gamble on sports immediately, but he did at 18. He started with $5 or $10 bets. His friend put him in contact with a bookie in college and his wagers increased.
It wasn't easy to bet consistently before the year ended. He used offshore accounts that were unreliable. He worried that he wouldn't get his winnings, with credit cards denied or bets lost. He set up an online platform where he could place bets, and at the end of each week they would settle up. Prior to last year, that was the only way that I was able to place bets on sports.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was struck down by the Supreme Court in June of 1992. Gambling ads flooded the state after New Jersey legalized sports betting. Weber remembers a lot of promotional emails for risky bets. There were new applications on the phones. He was amazed at how easy it was to bet with just a few taps of his thumb. It was just as easy to deposit and withdraw money. He didn't have to wait weeks for cash in an offshore account or meet a bookie to settle his bets, he had the money in his bank account. There were no hurdles to contend with with time and space.
There were a lot of new bets to place. The foreign sites didn't offer anything like this. The next quarter of a football game, the next pitch in a baseball game are all bets he could place. It seemed like it could be done. During this time, Weber became less interested in bets that required skill and more interested in bets that would give him a better chance of winning. He says that he liked the bets that he could win or lose immediately. roulette and blackjack were games that he had no interest in before. He was attracted to the sites and apps that were associated with casinos. It was all over in 10 to 15 minutes if he bet on a baseball team scoring in the first frame.
Things got worse over the next two years. Weber admitted his issues with gambling had been building since his first game of poker. He says that it's not good for someone who works at the firehouse. He spent a lot of time thinking about gambling and trying to find money to gamble. He couldn't stop using his phone for 24 hours. He says that his life was a lot of work. Weber's sources of cash ran out by the start of 2020. He was out of options when it came to taking out a loan or requesting a credit card.
Americans have always found legal and illegal ways to bet on sports, whether it be through trips to Nevada, where sports betting has flourished for decades, or through offshore accounts. The introduction of regulated sports gambling in the US shouldn't be confused with the introduction of sports gambling in other countries. According to a survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling, 15% of Americans bet on sports frequently. Thirty-one states allow sportsbetting. Weber has placed a lot of bets. The number of Americans who bet has gone up to 25 percent. The black market coming under regulation is one of the reasons why this is happening.