- Associated Press - Saturday, March 18, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - A local group wants to make sure March Madness doesn’t turn into a year-round gambling habit for some people.

The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling says now is a good time to talk to friends and family members - particularly children - about the consequences of problem gambling.

The group cites estimates of more than $12 billion being spent on sports gambling during the current NCAA basketball tournament, making March the largest month for individual bets.

The council’s executive director, Marlene Warner, says most adults who participate in office pools and the like will never have serious issues with gambling. But she says many children are introduced to gambling through sports betting and that can lead to future problems.

The group says many compulsive gamblers started betting around age 12.

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