The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) recognizes that the road to recovery from problem gambling is rarely without its challenges. One such challenge many in recovery may face is being exposed to situations that may trigger compulsive betting, including large-scale betting events such as the Triple Crown, a series of three thoroughbred horse races that happen every year from May to early June. 
The Triple Crown is considered a particularly challenging feat in horse racing, as it requires a three-year-old horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. As such, only 13 horses have achieved this in racing history. While millions of people across the country gear up for this event, we must also acknowledge the potential threat these races pose for those struggling with problem gambling.
With horse races taking place nearly year-round, and many occurring right here in Florida, the sport is particularly popular among those looking to make every event an opportunity for wagering. In the Sunshine State, spectators can place bets on races in person at any of the five horse tracks hosting these events, along with any of the more than 20 pari-mutuel facilities across the state. While online sports betting is illegal in Florida there are also apps and other online sources available for online bets to be made with horse racing, and daily fantasy sports only, offering a loophole to Florida’s online sports betting laws.
The summer’s Triple Crown events are some of the largest and most widely celebrated horse races of the year. But for those who struggle with excessive betting, the celebration may bring anything but joy. Whether a person is actively seeking recovery or just beginning to recognize the signs of compulsive gambling, the FCCG would like to take this as an opportunity to help individuals prepare ahead of time.
If you are currently working on recovery from compulsive gambling, Here are a few steps you can take to protect your progress:
- Unsubscribing from any emails, text messages or mail promoting these events
- Make plans with friends or family on race days to keep your mind occupied instead of searching for updates
- Letting friends or family know this is a difficult time for you and asking for their support
If problem gambling is something you are still struggling with, you may also consider:
- Going “off-grid” on race days by hiking or getting out in nature to avoid race updates
- Seek professional support by calling or texting Florida’s Problem Gambling HelpLine at 888-ADMIT-IT
For some, the Triple Crown can be seen as a beacon of hope when problem gambling losses have climbed to unmanageable heights. The odds of a big win are very slim, yet that “last-ditch” appeal may be highly tempting for those on their journey towards recovery. In these situations, the most important piece of advice to remember is you do not have to go at it alone. Call or text Your One Sure Thing, Florida’s 24-hour Problem Gambling HelpLine, 888-ADMIT-IT, to access the recovery resources you need to keep your mind, and your wallet, off the Triple Crown.
- Hoppert, Melissa. “What to Know About the Triple Crown.” New York Times, May 18, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/article/triple-crown-horse-races.html