NCAA gambling madness

Kheon Clarke
Sports Reporter

The NCAA Tournament is fully underway and many betting enthusiasts may be sorely disappointed in their tournament brackets.

Humber College events and program coordinator James Depoe said he is dead last in his tournament pool as favourites are being knocked out of college basketball’s March Maddness.

“I had Duke winning over Iowa State in the final but obviously my maximum points is well below everyone in the group,” Depoe said.

Depoe said because of his background being a therapist for the Canadian Junior National basketball team he tries to pick the schools with a lot of Canadians.

“I did have Iowa State (with two Canadians) in the final, and the Michigan Wolverines (with one Canadian) has been my favorite team since 1989, so as a fan I’m still happy, but as a gambler, I’m not happy,” Depoe said.

Gambling, when done in moderations, can be an enjoyable experience, but for some it can lead to an addiction.

Katie Hann, a councilor at Planned Parenthood Toronto, said when studying the dynamics of addiction it is important to determine the effect it has on the addict.

“Generally speaking all types of addiction include compulsive thoughts, impulsive behavior and an inability to discontinue their behavior, despite the awareness of the negative impact(s) it has on the addict’s life,” Hann said.

Hann said when approaching a gambling issue with a client she uses a gambling screen, a self assessment tool for compulsive gambling, to explore addictive behaviors.

“It will gently encourage the client to explore and gain insight into his or her own behaviors,” Hann said.

“After the client is able to identify whether or not they would like assistance in this area, I would provide a psycho-education plan for the client to help them understand the dynamics of addictive behaviors,” Hann said.

Depoe said when placing bets on the tournament you should never think of it as a big money thing. He said to just do it for fun.

“The most money I’ve ever lost on a bet is probably $300 or $400 dollars,” Depoe said.

Manager of athletics and sports information Jim Bialek said when participating in an NCAA tournament pool, it should be more about fun than money.

“I think for someone to throw five or ten bucks into a pool, winner take all, is more bragging rights than it is financial gain,” Bialek said.

Bialek said he doesn’t consider the NCAA tournament as a gambling opportunity.

“There are just too many things that can go south, I think if there is a gambling aspect to this, then it’s more on the low end of the spectrum,” Bialek Said.

Bialek said Humber athletics participated in NCAA pools for 15 years and no money was involved.

“One of the prizes for winning might have been a basketball or jersey from your favorite team,” Bialek said.

“I see much more addiction from somebody playing Pro-Line every week picking games than I do in one NCAA three week winner take all pool,” Bialek said.