Ohio Problem Gambling Group Hosts Event At University Of Cincinnati

Written By Brian Cross on September 18, 2023
The mascot for the University of Cincinnati, which hosted an event for local social workers about responsible gambling.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) named September Responsible Gaming Awareness Month, aiming to elevate responsible gaming within the gambling industry.

The other side of the responsible gambling coin is prevention, treatment and education about problem gambling. Several groups and professionals across Ohio specialize in exactly that. They gathered at one of the state’s largest universities last week to advance best practices within the industry.

On Friday, Southwest Ohio social workers and counselors gathered at the University of Cincinnati for a continuing education program on problem gambling. With the Ohio sports betting launch earlier this year, more programs like this will be planned.

Education day focused on awareness and treatment

The “Problem Gambling Treatment” Continuing Education Day was an in-person event at the UC College of Allied Health Sciences, also accessible online in a live webinar.

The Problem Gambling Coalition of Southwest Ohio hosted the program. It focused on problem gambling treatment and was held at UC’s School of Social Work. It provided attendees with tools for problem gambling treatment through three separate sessions, each providing 1.5 Continuing Education Credits for professionals in the field.

Rachel Johnson, who presented the first session on “Gambling Disorder Treatment and Application,” is the Vice President of Clinical Services of the Center for Addiction Treatment (CAT). She’s also the 2023-2024 chair of the Problem Gambling Prevention and Treatment Coalition of Southwest Ohio. She viewed the event as just the beginning of the Coalition’s work in the region.

She told Butler County Journal-News, “We hope that this event opens the door for discussion about the signs and symptoms, and available treatment for problem gambling, and gambling addiction as well as starting the conversation about what prevention looks like, to get ahead of the game, and be able to provide support and resources for people who might be at-risk.”

Social workers learned from experts on real-world gambling industry problems

In addition to the first session, two more education sessions focused on more specific issues.

Cindy Chizewick, LISW-S, LICDC of Brighter Day Wellness Recovery, presented a session on “Human Trafficking and Exploitation in the Gaming Industry” that discussed forms of human trafficking and how it can occur within gaming operations. Social workers learned to recognize the signs of human trafficking and how to support and treat victims of exploitation.

The last session focused on “Gambling and College Students” and was led by Michael A. Buzzelli, MA, MPH, OCPS, associate director of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio (PGNO).

Johnson noted that behavioral addiction is an issue that isn’t discussed as much as substance addiction and stressed the importance of education programs like these in making proper treatment available.

“When we say the word addiction, most people start thinking about substance abuse, alcohol, or drugs, but problem gambling and gambling addiction is just as real and devastating to the folks that are involved in it, and the families that are surrounding those people. So, for counselors and social workers to be educated, and to be competent in that treatment is going to offer a very important piece of support to people who are looking for recovery and treatment,” Johnson said.

Upcoming event opens doors to the community

The Center for Addiction Treatment is holding another event this month to network and build community relationships. Organizers will focus on recovery awareness and are open to anyone attending. However, this event does not provide continuing education credits.

Guest speakers will share inspiring stories of recovery, and attendees will have a chance to mingle and make new connections with community partners, recovery advocates, treatment providers and those affected by addiction and recovering from it.

Recovery Awareness Day is this Friday, Sept. 22, from 2-5 p.m. in Cincinnati at the CAT’s 834 Ezzard Charles Drive location. Interested attendees should RSVP via the link below.



Photo by AP Photo / John Minchillo
Brian Cross Avatar
Written by
Brian Cross

Brian Cross contributes sports betting, casino and lottery coverage to PlayOhio and PlayPennsylvania. Brian studied Professional Writing and Journalism at the University of Cincinnati and has been a contributing writer at Cincinnati’s alt-weekly for over 10 years.

View all posts by Brian Cross