With sports betting now legal and available statewide in Ohio, the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio (PGNO) is reminding bettors in the Buckeye State about resources available to assist with responsible gambling practices and help those experiencing gambling problems.
“While many who gamble can do so without problem, Problem Gambling Network of Ohio is reminding Ohioans that gambling is not without its risks and to stay within their financial means if they choose to play,” the organization says in a press release.
The message comes just a couple of days after the launch of sports betting in Ohio. The New Year’s Day launch of dozens of online and retail sportsbooks was generally seen as a success with minimal hiccups.
Problem gambling expected to increase with sports betting launch
Now that sports betting is available to anyone in Ohio that is verifiably over 21 and has access to the plethora of betting options, regulators, treatment professionals, sportsbook operators and others are ready to set their responsible gambling plans into action and bracing for the potential manifestation of problem gambling issues.
“We know from our state gambling survey data that about 1-in-4 sports bettors are at-risk of developing or have a gambling problem,” Executive Director of PGNO Derek Longmeier says.
“As opportunities to gamble become more accessible, we expect to see increases in rates of problem gambling.”
PGNO defines problem gambling as a form of “behavioral addiction” marked by “an inability to control one’s gambling habits.” Those dealing with a gambling problem will often continue to bet even after gambling has led to negative employment, relationship and financial issues.
Recognizing problem gambling red flags is key
PGNO provides several red flags to be on the lookout for in terms of a developing gambling problem. According to the org, bettors may be at risk if they are:
- Thinking about gambling a lot and planning for future gambling sessions
- Feeling unable to stop gambling, even when it is causing problems
- Needing to gamble larger amount of money to achieve the desired level of excitement
- Feeling irritable or restless when unable to gamble
- Continuing to gamble in an attempt to win back lost money
- Gambling to cope with negative feeling
PGNO encourages anyone recognizing themselves or a loved one experiencing problem gambling warning signs to call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or visit gamblinghelpohio.org for resources, including information on Time Out Ohio, the state’s recently retooled Voluntary Exclusion Program.
Bettors encouraged to plan ahead before wagering
PGNO also reiterated that many resources are available to help Ohio bettors gamble responsibly, in the hopes that many will go into betting prepared ahead of time to perhaps avoid any serious problems developing.
“Sports betting can be fast-paced, so it’s essential to go into it with a game plan and to stick to it,” Longmeier says. “This may include setting limits on how much money you spend, how often you place bets, and how much time is spent on gambling.”
Among the valuable resources available in the state, PGNO points to Ohio for Responsible Gambling’s statewide If You Gamble, Get Set Before You Bet campaign as a good place to start. The campaign has educational materials and a variety of tips at beforeyoubet.org.
Just prior to the end of 2022, ORG launched its Pause Before You Play promotional campaign, an offshoot of the Before You Bet initiative targeting men ages 18-34, a demographic identified as being at high risk for gambling problems.