Gamblers Anonymous member on dangers of NFL betting

NFL gambling
Getty Images
0 Comments

Peter King is on vacation until July 18, and he lined up some guest writers to fill his Monday spot on Football Morning in America. Today’s guest is Doc G. (a pseudonym), a compulsive gambler and member of Gamblers Anonymous.

The moment 20 years ago is etched in my mind. I had a great job and an office with a dream view. The phone rang, and when I picked up, I heard a hysterical cry on the other end. “What have you done?” my wife shrieked. She discovered that I cleared out an entire investment account of thousands of dollars.

She was beyond disbelief when she discovered the facts. My emotions overflowed. I knew my gambling was wrong and out of control. Even worse, we had been through this before. I was mortified at being caught, embarrassing my wife and family. Still, despite the pain, the remorse, the self-loathing, there was also relief.

I had an addiction. I was sick. I needed help. I led a secret life, dishonest, self-centered, manipulative. It took time, but I began to see that if I could stop gambling, become transparent about my actions, start doing the right things, my life, our lives, could be saved and healed.

I’m not proud of my actions, but I’m pleased about the path I’ve taken to recovery. If one person finds these stories helpful, sharing my story will be worth it.

So what does this have to do with the NFL? Why did Peter King give me this space to tell my story and the stories of others close to me? When I turn on the TV today and see wall-to-wall ads urging people to gamble on sports, I think about the major influence the commercials are having. I think about the thousands, perhaps millions, of people who are likely to start betting on sports. The league, team and betting company commercials—luring viewers with great deals if they download the app and open an account—follow every major sport now, so it’s impossible to watch a game and not be bombarded by betting ads.

Many bettors are able to handle gambling. But many also will be me.

They rationalize, “This is going to make the games more fun,” or “This will be a way to make me interested in games I don’t care about.” Both are true. But they’re also fool’s gold. Eventually, with gambling accounts tied to an app and credit card, the bill comes due.

In 2012, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: “If gambling is permitted freely on sporting events, normal incidents of the game such as bad snaps, dropped passes, turnovers, penalties, and play calling inevitably will fuel speculation, distrust and accusations of point-shaving or game-fixing.”

Super Bowl LVI - Head Coach & MVP Press Conference
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. (Getty Images)

In 2016, before sports gambling was legal across the country, Goodell was asked again about the NFL’s stance. He said, “We remain very much opposed to gambling on sports. We want to make sure we’re doing what’s right for the game.”

Less than six years later, the NFL has been able to monetize gambling. This week, the NFL appointed an in-house betting boss. All of a sudden, betting on football is okay.

Jason Roberts, co-founder of DraftKings, said on CNBC a year ago: “The NFL is definitely the biggest betting sport from a volume perspective. But it’s even bigger from a new customer and new bettor perspective.

“Remember there’s only [18] NFL weeks. There’s a handful of playoff games and Super Bowl week. Compare that to 82 games for NHL and NBA and 162 for baseball. So, even despite having less events, the NFL is the biggest generator of revenue. When you look at it from an activation and a new customer standpoint, it’s way larger than anything else.”

An estimated $7 billion was bet on the 2022 Super Bowl.

“Sports gambling is growing rapidly with significant potential to create or worsen gambling problems,” says The National Council on Problem Gambling, a national advocate for those impacted by problem gambling.

The NCPG is neutral on legalized gambling and works with all stakeholders, including the NFL, to promote responsible gambling, according to Executive Director Keith Whyte.

The NFL made partnership deals with DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars in 2021, and also secondary deals with other gambling companies. The big three partnerships reportedly will bring the league a total of $1 billion over five years. It’s amazing to think the NFL now makes more money from its partnerships with gambling companies than from either beer or auto industries.

The commercials are so cool, like JB Smoove with the Manning familyGambling on the NFL is fun—come on, do it, you’ll love it.

I realize people are going to bet. I’m not writing this to purge gambling from the American landscape. I know that won’t happen.

I’m just here to urge football fans to please think about the consequences of the gambling addiction and know that Gamblers Anonymous is a gateway and a safe place to go if you think you have a problem.

Doc G.’s Story

Back to that day in the office with a dream view 20 years ago. I started individual therapy and returned to Gamblers Anonymous (again). I admitted (again) that I was incapable of controlling this compulsive-gambling addiction myself. It meant making amends (again) to my wife and family and others that I harmed. Most importantly, I started the process (again) of making amends to myself, finding help in forgiving myself.

As I look back, the destructiveness of my gambling seems unimaginable. I experienced an erosion of the soul, of the emotion about the important things, the true caring of others and self.  And it is the invisible self that is at the foundation of who we are at the core.

The therapist suggested I attend 90 GA meetings in 90 days. I could always go back to gambling if that didn’t work. I went to meetings three times a week. Today, I go to one or two meetings a week, all virtual because of Covid.  I’ve had the same sponsor for 20 years. I became a sponsor, too, as a way to give back and as a continuing reminder to myself of what I have gained by not gambling.

The disease does not respect anyone. I’ve heard thousands of therapies—at least 25 a week for some 20 years or 25,000.  The pain and suffering that the addiction of compulsive gambling causes to individuals and families is monumental. But just as transformational is the recovery one can achieve through the Gamblers Anonymous program.

GA asks new members not to watch sports for at least a year.  That was important when I was new to the program. It’s even more important giving the insatiable betting opportunities in your face from every major sports league and team.

I first joined GA in the mid-90s. I was struggling with gambling; my marriage was chaotic. We were living paycheck to paycheck. A therapist told me he couldn’t help my gambling problem and suggested GA. I went for some months but dropped out, deciding that betting on golf was not a big deal, not really gambling but what all golfers do. What a fantasy! The golf bets soon went from a 5-5-5 Nassau to large sums. I was the main instigator in our foursome of doubling down on bets to amounts I couldn’t afford. It was about wanting to be the big shot and make the big play. That led back to casino and blackjack gambling and the losses became staggering. So, in desperation for money, among other things, I cleaned out that investment account—not in one moment but over months.

(Getty Images)

“I’ll pay it back,” I told myself the first time I dipped into the fund. It didn’t happen. I went back to the fund time and again until it was dry. I knew there would be a price to pay at home if ever the truth was discovered. But by this time, the risk didn’t matter. I was hooked on blackjack, going to casinos regularly and finding reasons to be in casino areas for business. A sales call, dinner with clients, colleagues, conferences, always with the seductive path to gambling that would be included in those meetings.

The anticipation of getting to the blackjack table was intoxicating. I carefully put a few bucks in my car’s glove compartment to stop for coffee or pay tolls to get home. Just before arriving at the casino, I’d stop at a restaurant or gas station and go to the bathroom so I wouldn’t waste time getting up from the casino tables.

I could spend hours at a table, starting with a small amount of money, slowly and patiently building winnings at the $10 table. The goal was to get a pile of money and head to the high-roller room, which I sometimes did.  The minimum bet was $100, and I liked to play more than one hand. I recall with some awe seeing a pro sports team owner playing all seven hands with a stack of chips at each one.

The goal for me was to walk out with a load of money.  One time on a successful night I asked for security to walk me to the car. That momentary success just whet my appetite for more and led me back to the tables. I had dreams of keeping the money, of investing it wisely, but addiction doesn’t work that way. The idea of risking more and more simply took over.

Still, I walked a careful line because I didn’t want to be caught. I didn’t want to jeopardize my job and my marriage. I was careful about not putting money on credit cards because my wife was wise to my issues and would watch and probe and certainly learned not to trust me. And I didn’t take out casino advances because that would show up on invoices.

So I hid cash in the house, but it was never in the closet cubby hole for long. I always went back.

Hooked now in a larger way, I lived for the next bet.  I managed my work schedule, the money and the excuses for the time I was away. I opened a savings account, then borrowed money from that institution. It became my gambling slush fund.

Dealing with reality was not easy for me. As the youngest, I felt entitled. My parents were devout, and religion played a very important role in our lives. The “nos” always seemed loud and overdone to me.  “Don’t do this or that” seemed like the primary message to these ears. And I rebelled by making my own rules, including gambling and stealing at an early age. That led down the road to addiction and to finally understand that I needed GA.

I’m proud of the changes I’ve made during recovery. My wife is still with me, and we face the challenges of life together in real ways. I am profoundly grateful for GA, my sponsor and the many mentors I have in the program.

Visit the Gamblers Anonymous website.

National Council On Problem Gambling help line: 1-800-522-4700

Read more in the full Football Morning in America column

How to watch Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

0 Comments

It’s the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, October 2 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida–a rematch of Super Bowl LV where Tom Brady earned his seventh ring. Sunday’s matchup marks the sixth meeting between Patrick Mahomes and Brady with the 45-year-old veteran holding a 3-2 edge in the series.

Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock with Football Night in America. See below for additional information on how to watch the game.

Football Night in America will feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: FMIA Week 3 – Broncos’ Coaching Experiment Pays Off, Dolphins Win ‘Beast’ Game, and What We Learned About the NFL in September

Be sure to start your NFL Sunday with Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Football Pregame show beginning at 11 AM ET on Peacock and the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

Kansas City Chiefs

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) picked up their first loss of the season last Sunday after falling 20-17 to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kansas City struggled offensively in Week 3 as the team was held to just three points in the second half. The Chiefs are still working to fill the void in the passing game since trading star WR Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in the offseason but according to Mahomes, that doesn’t excuse Sunday’s loss.

RELATED: Patrick Mahomes –  I don’t expect growing pains, offense has to gel together

“I don’t expect any growing pains,” Mahomes told reporters at ESPN.com. “Obviously have new players and you don’t know everybody’s going to respond to tough situations. . . . We’ve got to gel all together. It starts with me. There were certain throws I was putting on guys’ back hips instead of in front of him. There were certain situations where we were just barely off of it.”

Mahomes, who signed a 10-year, $450 million contract extension, in July 2020–the richest contract in American sports history by total value–is in his fifth season as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback and hopes to lead Kansas City to its seventh straight AFC West title. The Chiefs are the only team to ever win six consecutive AFC West titles, which is tied for the 3rd-longest division title streak of any team in NFL history.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady and the Buccaneers (2-1) are also coming off their first loss of the season–a 14-12 defeat at home from Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last Sunday afternoon. With WRs Mike Evans (suspension) and Chris Godwin (hamstring)–Brady’s top two targets–and Julio Jones (knee) out in Week 3, Tampa Bay’s offense racked up a total of just 285 yards in the loss. Additionally, the team is still adapting to the turnover at the WR and TE positions from this offseason. Despite some challenges on offense, Tampa Bay’s defense has remained consistent and currently leads the NFL in scoring defense (9.0 pts/gm) and also ranks in the top 5 in total defense.

RELATED: Todd Bowles asks NFL to explain clock issues on delay of game, says Bucs have to get the snap off


How to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
  • When: Sunday, October 2
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your NFL jersey and gear needs ahead of the 2022 season, click here!


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

5 Comments

The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night features a match-up between Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers–a rematch of Super Bowl LV. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s game as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season. See below for the complete 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule and find out how to live stream every game on Peacock.

RELATED: FMIA Week 3 – Broncos’ Coaching Experiment Pays Off, Dolphins Win ‘Beast’ Game, and What We Learned About the NFL in September

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Chiefs at Buccaneers

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Bengals at Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Cowboys at Eagles

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Steelers at Dolphins

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Packers at Bills

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Titans at Chiefs

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – Chargers at 49ers

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Bengals at Steelers

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Patriots at Vikings

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers at Eagles

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Chiefs at Broncos

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: How to watch/live stream Chiefs vs Buccaneers game


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

RELATED: PFT’s Week 3 2022 NFL power rankings

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!