Ohio Sports Betting Launch Brings New Responsible Gambling Campaign

Written By J.R. Duren on December 30, 2022
Ohio launches 'Pause Before You Play'

Sunday morning in Ohio will never be the same. Legal sports betting launches on Jan. 1, just in time for bettors to wager on a wide variety of games and bets. Among those betting opportunities will be in-game wagering, a high-speed, high-risk type of gambling that Ohio for Responsible Gambling (ORG) is hoping to tame.

Yesterday, the organization launched its Pause Before You Play campaign. The initiative aims to warn bettors of the dangers in-game betting can present. Amanda Blackford, a problem gambling services director for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, said in a statement that she knows a wave of problem gambling is coming, and she’s hoping the campaign can help people focus on having a good time and playing within their limits:

“In other states that preceded Ohio in legalizing sports betting, we’ve seen higher interest and more struggles with problem gambling. We want people to have fun and be responsible.”

Campaign ad encourages bettors not to get caught up in the moment

A centerpiece of the Pause Before You Play campaign is a 30-second ad that highlights the rush of in-game betting. Bettors can place wagers on a variety of in-game outcomes while the game is happening. Quick losses can rack up. Bettors may feel the need to keep wagering to make up for their losses. This could lead to a spiral of repeated bad bets.

“Betting happens as fast as sports and now every play is faster than ever before,” the ad says. “You’re on the edge of your seat when it’s all on the line, which is why it’s important to pause before you play. Sports are fast. Betting shouldn’t be.”

Pausing during a game gives bettors the chance to step outside of the betting environment, refocus, and think clearly.

The pausing strategy is part of the Pause Before You Play campaign’s three-part approach to responsible gambling:

  • Set limits
  • Know the risks
  • Pause before you play

Problem gambling affects more than just the gambler

Derek Longmeier, executive director of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, pointed out that problem gambling’s impact extends beyond the gambler. Their family, career, and finances all suffer as the gambling problem grows.

“The challenges of problem gambling go far beyond the person placing a bet,” he said. “Families, children, and businesses, all face consequences with a person’s gambling addiction.”

Sports betting is a particularly addicting form of gambling. ORG’s statement about the new campaign included this sobering fact:

“Casino gamblers and sports gamblers had the highest rates of at risk/problem gambling: 24.0% and 24.3% respectively.”

That being said, problem gamblers suffer greatly, in many cases. Blackford noted that drug use, alcohol use, and mental health conditions (including thoughts of suicide) are more prevalent among problem gamblers.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can contact 988. For problem gambling help, call 1-800-589-9966 at any time night or day. Problem-gambling counselors are available by text, too: text 4HOPE to 741741.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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