ST. PAUL, Minn. - The 2017-2018 NFL season begins this weekend. Authorities with the Minnesota Department Public Safety's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division is warning folks not to participate in illegal sports betting.
"If me and my friend are at home watching the Vikings and Packers, I can certainly bet him some money the Vikings will beat the Packers. That is between me and my friend, we can do that," said Terry Kelley with DPS. But sports wagering is illegal.
One man found out the hard way after he says he lost nearly everything.
"My name is Don Weinberger and I am a compulsive gambler."
Weinberger said it began with football. He admits he didn't know much about it but was kind of intrigued.
"I remember it was a Dallas and Vikings game so I bet it all on one side trying to get back my losses. Unfortunately, there was some kind of fumble and a run back at the end of the game and instead of winning, I lost. It was a couple thousand dollars which I didn't have," explained Weinberger.
He ended up in Gamblers Anonymous for three months, but it wasn't long after that he was back to betting.
"The first thing we lost was the motorhome, the next thing was a car. We ended up out on the street basically," said Weinberger.
He said his wife never left him and today he's very thankful.
"I eventually did get back to Gamblers Anonymous and I have been successful in that program now coming up on 23 years."
The Department of Public Safety, Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division reports almost $5 billion was wagered illegally on the Super Bowl last year. Authorities say they will be stepping up enforcement to combat illegal sports wagering in Minnesota leading up to Super Bowl 52.
If you or someone you know needs help for gambling addiction, click here.