Sports betting apps turn clueless viewers into rabid fans. Trust me.

“You leave money,” said Dr. Marc Potenza, professor of psychiatry at Yale and director of the university’s addiction research division. “Some people, when they make that money, they put it back in.”

Dr. Potenza said the research indicated that men, who have historically been more interested in strategic forms of gambling, such as sports betting, were more likely to develop gambling problems, but that women who developed them tended to move on more quickly into problems, a dynamic called telescoping. .

This time of explosive growth for the gaming industry, with few government restrictions on marketing promotions, has been tinged with trial and error. At the industry conferences my colleagues and I attended this year, some betting company representatives urged regulators to trust them and offer flexibility so that they could, as one employee of betting-focused Bet MGM said responsible, “learning and identifying what is harmful, what is not harmful.”

Even though my patterns on the sites were intensely concentrated over a few days, sometimes stretching late into the night, they all made me some money overall on the platforms. Companies offered me new offers even, and especially, when I slowed down my bets or cashed out my winnings. Sometimes these offers were effective in luring me back.

“You cleaned us out by $1,442,” said Chris Jones, FanDuel’s vice president of communications, referring to my initial $900 bet with FanDuel on the Orioles to beat the Red Sox. “For someone who’s not interested, you did pretty well,” he said, reminding me of the company’s tools for setting limits on one’s bets.

At the end of the four days I spent betting on this app, I had won $1,088.03.

“We want our customers to be engaged, of course,” said Mr. Jones said. “But we don’t want our customers to be checking their phones at all hours of the night.”

My favorite type of bet, in which I made hundreds of rigs during the experiment, was a live bet on total runs in baseball: while a game was in progress, I bet not on the winners and losers, but simply whether the combined score would be above or below a certain number.

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