Safety tips for online sports betting from experts

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As seven mobile sportsbook apps prepare to go live Wednesday, experts share some advice for first-timers.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Even Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan admitted Tuesday he’s a beginner when it comes to mobile sports betting, as he celebrated the launch of seven gambling apps going live in Maryland on Wednesday. 

“I’ve never done it before and I’m not the most technology oriented guy,” Hogan chuckled. “So I’m gonna have to get somebody to help me figure out how to put an app on my phone and then use it. Maybe I might place a bet on the Ravens or the Terps or something just to say I did it.”

Hogan, and potentially hundreds of thousands of other bettors in Maryland, do need to take some precautions before downloading and logging on, according to Brad Kronthal, co-founder of Alloy Sports, a Maryland-based app that helps sports gamblers research years of sports stats to help them make the best picks.

“This is your bank account, this is your money,” Kronthal said. “So you want to be cognizant of that just to take the extra measure of safety and security.” .

Kronthal went on to urge novice gamblers to use “budget discipline” and resist the temptation to make big bets early on. 

“I would start at a smaller amount, maybe it’s $15 to $20, and bet consistently with the type of wagers you are familiar with,” Kronthal said, as he urged bettors to check trustworthy sources of statistical information before making decisions based on intuition. “You know the saying is ‘the house always wins’ if you’re going in there blindly and just trusting your intuition and not using data to back it. You’re probably not going to win in the long run.”

Kronthal advises beginners to be wary of a bet called a parlay, where a bettor tries to predict multiple outcomes in one wager.

“Parlays are sexy — they are when you can put in a very little amount of money and come out with huge payoffs,” Kronthal said. “But the success rate of winning a large parlay is slim to none. It’s like winning the lottery, and that’s why you’ll see a lot of the sportsbooks are promoting these types of bets because they know that 99% of people are going to lose.”

Finally, it’s always a good bet to double and triple check who you’re taking advice from, Kronthal urged. 

“Just be cognizant of where you’re getting your information and who you’re getting it from,” he said. “And then be smart about the bets that you place. Take it easy for the beginning, and then have fun experiencing sports betting.”

If you or a loved one has a problem with gambling, the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network can be reached at 1-800-522-4700. The network is a single national access point to local resources for those seeking help for a gambling problem. Help is available 24/7 and is 100% confidential.

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Safety tips for online sports betting from experts

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