GHENT, WV (WVNS)– The recent explosion of online sports betting can have negative effects on you or a loved one.

A new form of gambling is taking over in the Mountain State: Online Sports Betting. You may have seen ads and commercials for sports betting. According to First Choice Services, one out of 15 people in West Virginia develop an addiction to gambling. In the United States, the gambling industry made about $110 billion in 2020.

Sheila Moran, Director of Communications with First Choice Services, said they’ve experienced a surge in calls pertaining to online betting in the last year. She told 59News what some gambling addicts may be going through:

“They’re pretty desperate. I mean they’re thousands, ten of thousands maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. They may be looking at bankruptcy probably they have at least one family member who’s aware about they’re gambling and are unhappy about it. They may be looking at losing their job,” Moran said.

Moran offered one piece of important advice to not fall into bad habits and potentially become a gambling addict.

“Bet what you can afford to bet. Don’t bet on credit, don’t take a loan or use money that you don’t already have in hand to gamble,” Moran said.

Some other tips: if you’re betting with friends, make sure to keep each other in check. Make sure they are being responsible. Another tip is don’t count on winnings as an investment, understand there’s a possibility you might not get the money back.

If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, call the Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia at 1-800-GAMBLER.