Problem Gambling Helpline Calls Increased 55 Percent in First Year of Legalized Sports Betting in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 10, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — According to Ohio for Responsible Gambling (ORG), calls to Ohio’s problem gambling helpline increased 55 percent in the first year of legalized sports betting in Ohio. There were 10,637 calls to Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline in 2023. That number was 6,835 in 2022.

“While we knew calls would increase and anticipated this due to the increases seen in other states already operating sports betting, such a dramatic increase was surprising and lets us know there is a lot of work still to be done for responsible gambling advocates statewide,” said Michael Buzzelli, associate director, Problem Gambling Network of Ohio.

Call numbers increased every month in 2022, including 1,013 calls in December 2023, compared to 635 calls in December 2022.

Additionally, a new Ohio survey found the problem gambling rate in Ohio has tripled since 2012. Survey findings include:

  • The number of people estimated to have a Gambling Disorder increased to 2.8% – this represents approximately 255,000 individuals among Ohio’s adult population.
  • Over 1.8 million adult residents in Ohio can be categorized as low-risk, moderate-risk, or problem gamblers (19.8% of the general adult population).

Buzzelli said Ohio is following a national trend where diverse groups of Americans are seeing increased issues with problem gambling:

  • Women ages 50+
  • Teenagers
  • Family members of individuals currently experiencing problem gambling
  • Minorities
  • People not in a relationship

Buzzelli encouraged Ohioans to look out for things like borrowing money, withdrawing from relationships or hobbies, or exaggerating wins. If someone has concerns, Ohio has special resources to find support.

  • Pause Before You Play: Ohio’s latest statewide awareness campaign targets sports gaming and encourages individuals to set limits on time and money spent when betting on sports or other forms of gambling.
  • Time Out Ohio: The Time Out Ohio Voluntary Program offers individuals the ability to voluntarily ban themselves from Ohio’s casinos, Ohio racinos, and Ohio sports gaming for a specific amount of time.
  • Change the Game Ohio: Change the Game Ohio helps parents and care providers have conversations about screen usage, video games, and the risks of youth gambling.

Anyone concerned about their gambling or betting habits or those of someone in their life should call Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline which connects individuals with local resources that are free and confidential. Trained and understanding specialists will answer 24/7 at 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741.

Contact: Sarah Irvin Clark (614) 225-9100
[email protected]

SOURCE Ohio for Responsible Gambling

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