Former addict concerned about negative impact of gambling expansion on young people

After the Seminole Tribe re-launched its mobile sports betting application and announced the reintroduction of sports betting to their casinos, another betting company filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court to suspend it. As part of a $2.5 billion deal between the Seminole Tribe and the state, sports betting is set to become legal in Florida. The deal includes the relaunch of the Seminole’s Hard Rock Bet app, which was initially launched in 2021 but had to pause wagering after another Supreme Court ruling blocked the deal.

According to court documents, opponents to the expansion claim that the state of Florida “exceeded its constitutional authority by enacting legislation that expanded casino gambling in the state without citizens’ approval.” Sports legal analyst Daniel Wallach explained the controversy, questioning the legality of off-reservation wagers in relation to the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the Florida State Constitutional prohibition against non-voter-approved casino gambling.

David Tarbert, a recovering gambling addict, supports walking back the deal that allowed the expansion, expressing concerns about the impacts of legalizing sports betting in Florida. Tarbert, who became addicted to gambling in his teens and struggled with addiction for several years, fears that a younger audience will be exposed to gambling if the expansion remains in place. He is actively involved with the nonprofit organization Stop Predatory Gambling, which targets ads that promote gambling and opposes any portion of government budgets being funded by gambling.

Tarbert’s personal experience serves as a cautionary tale, as he warns others about the devastating effects of gambling addiction. He explains that his addiction cost him his marriage and a significant amount of money, and it took him eight years to recover. Now in his 60s, Tarbert enjoys a peaceful retirement and warns others about the risks of gambling, emphasizing that there is much more to lose than to gain. For more information on addiction and treatment options, visit the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.