What are the odds?

Dougie Jutronich’s (12) eyes are focused on the betting screen as he analyzes the odds and meticulously selects his bets. The excitement is palpable, his fingers move deftly across the keyboard, navigating through the various menus and screens. With a lock on the “place bet” button, a surge of adrenaline courses through his veins. Jutronich drums his fingers on the desk, a physical manifestation of his eagerness to see the outcome of his bets.

From the excitement of the Super Bowl to the drama of the World Cup, sports betting has become an integral part of the sporting experience. Whether bets are placed through sportsbooks or betting exchanges, sports fans are experiencing the rush of victory or the agony of defeat with every wager.

With the expansion of the sports betting world, a growing number of high school students are getting in on the action.

Online sports betting has become a popular pastime for teenagers, offering a way to engage with sports and potentially earn, or lose, some cash, according to Pew Research Center.

“[Sports betting] gives more excitement to the game … Without it, you’re not going to be nearly as involved, and if you have money on a team to win, it makes it that much more exciting,” Jutronich said.

Jutronich bets on the website Bovada, an online gaming platform made legal in the United States in 2011.

“I usually bet on football, hockey, golf and darts … For regular games, I usually bet in $10 to $20 increments, but if it’s a big game like the Super Bowl, I bet around $250,” Jutronich said. “I’m up about $1500 right now, which used to be $2000 until I lost two $250 bets back to back,” Jutronich said.

An anonymous TPHS student bettor uses the app PrizePicks to wager on electronic sports.

“I think the first week that I started betting on eSports, I tripled my initial investment,” he said. “I haven’t lost money since then, but I have made money.”

According to TPHS economics and government teacher Greg Balden, however, this trend has raised concerns among educators, parents and lawmakers.

“The instant gratification of the gamble can be addicting and isolate people to themselves more,” Balden said.

According to the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors, 60% to 80% of high schoolers say they have bet for money in the last year and 4% to 6% are addicted to gambling.

High schoolers across the United States increasingly turn to online sports betting as a source of excitement and “easy money,” despite the legal and ethical implications.

According to CBS Sports, betting on sports in California is currently illegal in both retail and online contexts. The two propositions in favor of “sports gambling” – Propositions 26 and 27 – did not pass in the November 2022 referendum.

However, “[California remains] one of the most active states in terms of pro sports teams and fans,” according to World Sports Network.

With the rise of online gambling platforms and the popularity of mainstream betting, students are getting hooked on the thrill of placing bets on their favorite teams and players.

“I began betting on sports my junior year. My friends all did it and I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, I’m going to have an addiction,’” Jutronich said.

In just a couple months, his prediction proved to be true.

“I definitely did have an addiction during football season, as that was what I was mainly betting on, but it’s kind of eased off now that I’ve learned to control myself,” Jutronich said.

According to the anonymous senior, students at TPHS are at a greater risk of falling into the cycle of addiction because of the prevalent sports culture and should take more precautions when getting into it. 

“TP is a huge sports school, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of kids who participate in these bets, either through apps or among themselves,” he said.

The betting websites are advertising their platforms with more bonuses and promotions, such as free bets and deposit matches, to incentivize customers to sign up and place bets. With just a few clicks, fans can place bets on a wide variety of sports, choosing from a range of different betting types including straight bets, parlays and teasers.

But to avoid creating more reliance on online apps, sportsbooks now offer tools and resources to help customers manage their gambling behavior, such as deposit limits and self-exclusion options.

As these platforms are a growing sporting industry, it is important for bettors to approach the activity with caution and to use responsible gambling practices to ensure individuals do not fall into problematic gambling behaviors.

When the final whistle blows, the score of the big game is out. The bettor holds his breath in anticipation and suddenly jumps forward in his chair – his eyes widened, heart shattered. The weight of the loss is overwhelming, but this cycle of addiction will force him to come back for more.

Read on Issuu.

2 thoughts on “What are the odds?

  1. I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.

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