PHOENIX (CN) — In 1989, baseball fans were heartbroken when commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti expelled Pete Rose from the game for his gambling addiction. Rose’s bookie said an average bettor would lose around 5% of their invested money weekly. Fans knew Rose was anything but average.
“He lost over what you would expect to lose,” said Ronald Peters, Rose’s ex-bookie in a 1989 interview. “[In] other words, he was worse than the average.”
The man who popularized the head-first slide and personified hustle didn't receive forgiveness for his pathological gambling. Vance Arnold, a 26-year-old recovering gambler from Scottsdale, Arizona, believes he won’t either.
“There's a lot of different types of people in the world,” Arnold said, recalling his ex-girlfriend’s response to his repeated lying. “[There’s] people who put up with shit, there's people who don't. She's the one who won't.”
When Arizona legalized online betting at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, convenience gambling progressively seized his life. He’d lie about quitting, his finances and what he could provide to his ex.
“When you’re a compulsive gambler it just slowly deteriorates," Arnold said, recalling his fall. “My savings started going down. So I started using my credit card and then before you know it, June of last year I was $30,000 in debt and had zero dollars to my name.”
Arnold lost more than money. Like Rose, he lost forgiveness.
“She'd rather get out now than wait 10 years,” he said about his ex's apprehension around starting a family with his addiction and lying.
His story is all too familiar for people and their loved ones affected by gambling in the state.
Nearly a year after lawmakers in Arizona legalized sports gambling, questions remain on the impact it will have on the public due to a lack of state oversight.
Findings show at least $12 million in revenue generated for the state, with most profits proffered to out-of-state sportsbooks. Additionally, reports show young men and Latino men may be disproportionately affected by out-of-state profiteering, revealing oversight concerns for those adversely impacted.
In January, Arizona State University’s Global Sport Institute studied the affect of wagering on events.
The research found older individuals held more traditional unenthusiastic attitudes about gambling. However, high-income earners and men 18-44 had more sympathetic opinions of event wagering.
Findings also showed younger men and Latino males were more open to event wagering. Other data suggests that demographic may be disproportionally affected by sports gambling.
In February, a survey by Futbol Sites found that 61% of U.S. Latinos are either betting on sports or interested in doing so. Hispanic communities may face uncertainty in treatment due to a lack of Spanish-speaking resources and cultural barriers in the U.S.
“It's been 24 years and 11 months since I placed my last bet,” said Julián, an Arizona Gamblers Anonymous (GA) member and founder. “And I'm still in GA.”
In 2001, the first Spanish-speaking GA opened in Arizona. Since then, Julián helped start additional locations to supplement the demand. He said the need is so great that members in other states attend Arizona GA meetings via Zoom.
According to Julián, the proliferation of Zoom helps individuals facing trepidation to find help amid cultural barriers.
“Because in the culture of Hispanics, there's a thing called machismo,” Julián said. “The man of the house, you know, shouldn't complain. The man of the house does not cry. The man of the house has to [take] on anything that comes along and be the one that doesn't break down. So, when a compulsive gambler becomes addicted, all that has a bearing in getting help in a timely manner.”