BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Super Bowl prompts many Americans to put a little action on the game, but experts caution that first step could escalate into big problems.
From Super Bowl squares to office pools and wagers placed in casinos, half the U.S. population wager more than 12 billion dollars on the big game each year.
That makes Super Bowl Sunday the biggest single day for gambling of the year.
But local experts say even a small wager on the game could lead to bigger problems in the weeks after the final whistle blows.
"For most people, it doesn't really hook them," said Buffalo-based clinical social worker Matthew Jost. "But it's that 3 (percent) to 4 percent of the population where they have those early wins and they begin this grandiose and excited thinking where they think, 'Well, I can quit my job.' "
Jost estimated there are 40 thousand problem gamblers in Western New York. He said those who need help can call the New York State Council on Problem Gambling or Gamblers Anonymous.