State Officials Warn that "March Madness" Can Trigger Gambling Problems

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State officials are warning that college basketball's "March Madness" tournament can trigger another sort of madness: gambling away hard-earned money.

They say the college-basketball playoffs are the nation's fourth biggest gambling event and can mean personal and financial ruin for some people.

Scot Adams is director of the Division of Behavioral Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. He says most people gamble for fun, but that for some, "gambling becomes a serious problem, and many forms of gambling are illegal, such as sports betting."

According to a 2006 state gambling report, the proportion of younger callers to the Nebraska Council on Compulsive Gambling hot line doubled in four years, going from 6 percent in 2001 to 12 percent in 2006.