The group Ohio for Responsible Gambling released a detailed report showing a significant increase in calls to the state’s problem gambling helpline.
The report comes at the start of Problem Gambling Awareness Month and an entire month into Ohio sports betting.
Calls to the help hotline increased by 227%
One of the first key takeaways is the significant jump in calls to the state’s help hotline. The report found a 227% increase in calls to Ohio’s Problem Gambling Hotline from January 2022 to January 2023.
In a press release, Derek Longmeier, Executive Director of Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, said:
“We knew the numbers were going to increase. While Ohio’s increase in calls for help matches other states that recently legalized sports betting, it’s still a wake-up call for people to take notice.”
Other key findings include:
- 135% increase in helpline calls from Dec. 2022 (the last month before legalization) vs. Jan. 2023 (the first month of legalized sports betting)
- 66% increase in warm transfer line calls connecting gamblers needing additional support — Dec. 2022 to Jan. 2023
- 45% increase in total chats — Dec. 2022 to Jan. 2023
According to Longmeier, the helpline received an average of about 48 calls per day in January 2023, compared to 20 calls per day the month before. Longmeier also said the age of callers is getting younger, with 18-34 being the fastest-growing age range.
Ohio launches Pause Before You Play responsible gambling campaign
Amanda Blackford, Director of Operations and Problem Gambling Services, Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC), said technology had advanced the issue of problem gambling.
“Technology lets anyone bet anywhere with cell phone reception. The ability to place multiple bets in real-time with no safeguards can quickly lead to catastrophic losses.”
In 2022, Ohio for Responsible Gambling launched Pause Before You Play to educate Ohioans on sports betting best practices. The Pause Before You Play campaign focuses on responsible gambling and the nuances of sports betting that can pose problems.
ORG: Sports Betting PSA (0:30) from Origo Branding Company on Vimeo.
The OCCC released its first report on Ohio sports betting activity to close out February. Altogether, physical and online sportsbooks collected $209 million in revenue on $1.1 billion in bets during Jan. 2023.