“Ohio’s collaborative efforts to provide information and resources on responsible gambling is a testament to Ohio for Responsible Gambling’s [ORG] shared goal of helping Ohioans,” OCCC executive director Matt Schuler said in a statement. “The Commission is grateful that the work of ORG and its partners is being recognized by those in the national prevention and treatment community.”
Ohio Lottery Commission Director Michelle Gillcrist added: “The commission is proud to partner with other state agencies and organizations in the development of tools and resources to teach our residents how to participate in gaming in a fun and responsible manner. Being recognized with these awards is a testament to our commitment to being on the forefront of responsible gaming, problem gambling prevention, and education that can be adopted by others.”
The Ohio Lottery Commission won the Corporate Website Award for its TimeOutOhio.com site, which is managed both by the lottery and the state Casino Control Commission. TimeOut provides education and sign-up services for a program that allow residents to ban themselves from gambling at casinos in Ohio, racinos, and/or sports betting for one year, five years – or a lifetime.
Once validated, an individual is not permitted access to any gaming property during the length of the self-imposed ban.
Two other awards went to the Ohio Responsible Gambling Organization, which is overseen by the lottery; the state’s racing and casino control commissions; and by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
The Corporate People’s Choice Award was earned for the “Pause Before You Play” feature on BeforeYouBet.org.
The Before You Bet campaign encourages Ohioans to “take a moment” before betting on sports to pause, consider the risks, and set limits.
“Sports are getting faster and faster, and so is betting. You can now place bets in the middle of the game, easier and quicker than ever before. But betting too fast can lead to making bets without thinking about the risk, which can become a problem with gambling. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to bet responsibly, set limits, and remember to pause before you play.”
Another key point on the site: “When the rush of the bet begins to mean more than the actual sport, it might be time to stop. By setting limits and keeping yourself accountable, you can keep sports betting a fun activity to be enjoyed with friends and family.“
The Public Awareness Campaign Award went to ORG’s “Make The Call” campaign that promotes the free and confidential 24/7 Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline of 1-800-589-9966. The council found it to be the best public awareness effort in the U.S.
Not Just Government Effort
The other two Ohio-related awards were not won by governmental officials or websites.
The Media Award went to WNWO-TV for a story that aired in March, during Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
WNWO highlighted the efforts of Steve Kapela, the director of gambling treatment at the Zepf Center in Toledo. Kapela’s expertise goes far beyond just academics, as he explains on the state’s beforeyoubet.org site.
“I always thought I could quit if I wanted to,” Kapela said, “until the day came when I wanted to, but I couldn’t quit gambling.”
Fortunately, Kapela reached out for help more than a decade ago.
“Gambling recovery has helped me put my life back together and to focus myself,” he said. “I think I’ve been able to reach my full potential, and make up for some of the things that I did.”
Finally, the Jim Wuelfing Annual Award for Prevention went to Amanda Jo Burke, who was an assistant professor at Kent State University and a problem gambling prevention specialist at a non-profit provider.
Sadly, Burke passed away unexpectedly last December at age 41.
Other States’ Efforts
While Ohio dominated the event, a number of other states also were recognized for their responsible gambling efforts.
The Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling won top honors both for the Affiliate Website Award and the Affiliate Newsletter Award. Virginia’s Council on Problem Gambling earned the Affiliate People’s Choice Award, while the state’s lottery won the Gift Responsibly Campaign Award.
Multicultural Communications Awards were won by the Illinois Council of Problem Gambling in the Affiliate category and by the New Jersey Lottery in the Corporate Category. The Corporate Newsletter Award was won by the North Carolina Education Lottery.
DraftKings captured the Corporate Social Responsibility Award.
The NCPG is known as the only national nonprofit organization that seeks to mitigate gambling-related harm. NCPG declares itself neutral on the issues of gambling legalization, focusing instead on assisting, “without stigma or shame,” those who run into difficulty whether gambling legally or illegally.
The council’s hotline is 1-800-GAMBLER.
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