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Experts discuss gambling addiction ahead of Waste Management Open, Super Bowl

This year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open is the first since the company DraftKings opened a 13,000-square-foot sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale.

An expert says the addiction known as gambling disorder affects about 1% to 2% of the population.

A ticket is needed most days to eat, drink and watch the Open from inside the posh sportsbook near the 18th hole with lots of betting windows.

But most wagers on events like the golf tournament are made online with smartphone apps.

“It makes sense if we’re going to make addiction available 24/7, we need to make recovery and solutions available 24/7,” said Dr. Timothy Fong.

The co-director of UCLA’s gambling studies program also said that to prevent addiction, “delay the onset of the very first bet combined with delaying the frequency of betting.”

Fong spoke as a panelist in a sports gambling briefing for reporters organized and moderated by SciLine. Professors from UNLV and Yale University also took part.

Fong said $40,000 is the average amount of gambling debt carried by people entering treatment in California for a betting addiction.

State-sanctioned sports gambling proliferates the United States less than a decade after it was considered illegal in most places.

Roughly 29 million people are expected to make an online bet on the Super Bowl this Sunday.

Fong said his question for people being screened for addiction is: “Does your gambling behavior increase your quality of life or does it create problems?”

Arizona is one of 38 states where sports betting is legal.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.