Ohio Launches New ‘Pause Before You Play’ Responsible Gambling Campaign

Written By Mike Breen on November 8, 2022 - Last Updated on March 10, 2023
Ohio Responsible Gambling

Ohio launched a new responsible gambling campaign on Dec. 29, officially introducing the Pause Before You Play “micro-campaign.”

The campaign is an offshoot of Get Set Before You Bet, an awareness initiative from Ohio for Responsible Gambling. It is designed to encourage safe gambling habits and assist those dealing with problem gambling.

Ohio responsible gambling initiatives have been preparing for the launch of legal sports betting. A new Pause Before You Play PSA video encourages bettors to take a step back and have a game plan before diving in. The fast-paced spot features quick edits, pulsating music and athletic imagery, playing off of the excitement of watching (and betting on) sports action.

PSA recommends setting limits, knowing risks

“Betting happens as fast as sports. And now every play is faster than ever,” the new spot says. “You’re on the edge of your seat until the moment when it’s all on the line.”

The PSA then pauses to deliver its responsible gambling message.

“Sports are fast. Betting shouldn’t be. So remember to set limits, know the risks and pause before you play.”

The PSA video was created by Origo Branding, the Columbus, Ohio-based marketing, branding and digital solutions company that has helmed the overall Get Set Before You Bet campaign, as well as other public health campaigns in Ohio.

Energetic campaign designed to educate sports fans

Origo Branding president Alessandro Ciaffoncini participated in a November webinar hosted by Problem Gambling Network of Ohio as part of its “Ready, Get Set, Go” series for Ohio professionals and community members who work in problem gambling prevention and treatment.

Ciaffoncini discussed how Origo crafted the Pause Before You Play PSA and messaging, as well as some of the educational resources and tool kits Origo has created for both Pause Before You Play and the general Get Set Before You Bet campaign. The resources — including the tool kits and ads in a variety of formats — are provided for free to organizations and professionals across the state, including many of the types of people who attended the webinar.

“It’s very fast-paced, very sports-driven,” Ciaffoncini said of the Pause Before You Play campaign, “because we’re really trying to connect (with) and get into the minds of the sports enthusiasts and people that are already involved in sports betting or who have the potential to be engaged once these new forms (of gambling) come into play.”

More responsible gambling campaigns to come

Ciaffoncini said the Pause Before You Play campaign was designed with help from Ohio for Responsible Gambling experts “to highlight different risks and behaviors that occur specifically in sports betting,” while also leaning on the core Get Set Before You Bet principles of setting limits and knowing risks.

The Pause Before You Play video spots will run throughout Ohio on cable TV channels, with a target audience of men ages 18-34 and sports fans in general. Pause Before You Play ads will also run on the radio and in a variety of digital formats. The campaign also includes advertising in sports stadiums on college campuses like Ohio State, the University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Ohio University and Kent State.

Ciaffoncini said Pause Before You Play is just the latest step of the Before You Bet initiative and that there will be more specific, targeted campaigns coming in the future.

“This was the tip of the iceberg on building this foundation,” he said. “There are many PSA, many tools, many subsections of this field, this industry, this subject matter that we still need to touch on. So right now we’re casting a very big net. We’ll be getting more granular as we get further into this campaign.”

Visit beforeyoubet.org for problem gambling resources and responsible gambling tips, including a quiz that helps assess your risk for problem betting.

The ORG coalition’s partners include the Ohio Lottery Commission, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the Ohio State Racing Commission and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

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Mike Breen

Mike Breen covers Ohio’s budding sports betting industry for PlayOhio, focusing on online sportsbooks and the state’s responsible gambling initiatives. He has over two decades of experience covering sports, news, music, arts and culture in Ohio.

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