Numbers Nearly Double in one Month
According to executive director of Problem Gambling Network of Ohio Derek Longmeir, the network took in over twice as many calls in January than it had during December.
“We had just under 700 calls in December of 2022, and then comparing that to just a month later, to over 1,500, that certainly sports betting has a big impact”.
Ohio made history during the first two days of legalized sports betting and fell just shy of New York for unique GeoLocation checks during Super Bowl LVII. While state officials and sportsbook operators are encouraged by these early numbers, it could also be the tip of the iceberg as far as problem gambling cases in the Buckeye State.
“Looking at just the early numbers, Ohio is a big sports betting market, and so while I think there’s going to be a lot to learn, knowing what those impacts will be is still unclear,” said Longmeier. “But what is clear according to local addiction counselors, is that demand for their services is going up”.
Who are These New Problem Gamblers?
Traditionally, problem gamblers were stereotyped as middle-age white males but this hasn’t been so with the more recent Ohio cases, according to Maryhaven Gambling Intervention Program administrative Bruce Jones.
“I’m seeing a lot more younger folks coming in, mainly between mid-20’s, mid-30’s, but then I’m getting some folks coming in that are casino gamblers, and what’s really been surprising are the amount of people doing it [gambling] online,” said Jones.
Jones also attributes an uptick in the number of prospective clients he’s seen to the Ohio sports betting boom.
“I usually see maybe 15, 20… well now I’m seeing about 30 to 40,”
While the signs may vary depending on the case, Addiction.com offers a list of possible warning signs you or someone else may have a gambling problem:
Jones has some sage advice for Ohio sports bettors struggling with a possible gambling addiction who may try to fix this situation on their own to seek treatment immediately.
“Sometimes we might not even talk about gambling,” said Jones. “How are you doing today? Do you have any thoughts of harming yourself? I say it’s a symptom of something else that’s going on in someone’s life.”
Help for Ohio Problem Gamblers
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available for Ohio sports bettors:
- Ohio Problem Gambling Hotline: 1-800-589-9966
- National Problem Gambling Hotline: 1-800-522-4700