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Timothy L. O'Brien

Will Sports Gambling Foster Addiction? You Can Bet on It.

Most people wager online purely for fun, but millions are vulnerable to financial and social misery.

Apps make sports betting easy.

Apps make sports betting easy.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Ben Affleck, the movie star and avid gambler who has struggled with alcohol addiction, is one of sports gambling’s most visible pitchmen. He’s center stage in a TV ad for the mobile wagering app WynnBET. “We all want to win. Let’s win together!” Affleck exclaims.

Aaron Paul, the actor who only played an addict in “Breaking Bad” and waved off hard drug use himself after seeing his girlfriend consumed by addiction, is a spokesman for Bet365, a sports wagering app. It has more than 63 million global users and offers newcomers a $500 credit to join. “You need to ask yourself, why am I not a member of the world’s favorite sports book?” Paul asks in one ad.