Is Ohio on the Brink of a Big Gambling Problem?
On January 1st of this new year, Ohio joined the “union” of U.S. states with legal sports betting. You can view the growing map here. While there are 32 states (and counting) on the map, Ohio has been singled out as being on the brink of a gambling problem more than some others. Below is a look at early indicators that greater access to gambling disorder counseling is needed.
4 Early Signs Indicating that Ohio Requires Enhanced Access to Gambling Disorder Therapy in 2023
I. Already the Busiest State for Sports Betting Apps
Ohio sports bettors didn’t wait to take advantage of the legalization of sports betting in the state. Cleveland.com reports that Ohio was the busiest state in the U.S. in terms of people using sports betting apps at the start of 2023. Ohioans came out of the gambling gate running – behavioral health resources must follow suit.
II. Sports Betting Companies Already Violating Law?
When the floodgates open, the floodgates open. Sports betting websites and apps launched the new year in Ohio with bang in every attempt to get prospective bettors to sign-up, deposit, and make wagers. However, three operators have already allegedly broken regulations. It has been reported that Caesars, DraftKings, and Bet MGM will receive notifications that they broke Ohio law with their player promotions.
How? In addition to advertising “risk-free” bonuses (which goes against the law) the Ohio Casino Control Commission noted that all three operators failed to conspicuously show messages preventing or managing problem gambling.
This is just within the first 10-days of legal sports betting in Ohio. Imagine the violations (inadvertent or otherwise) that may slip through the cracks as the weeks, months, and years progress?
Campaigns to increase awareness about gambling disorder resources must run concurrently with operator promotions for gambling. We’ll do our part to increase awareness, but we call upon regulators and operators to also do the same.
III. Exposure Exponentially Increases as Nearly 1,500 Sports Betting Hosts Approved
*Alert: There is an example of a gambling advertisement below. Please be aware of this before reading further.
Since the passing of Ohio House Bill 29 to approve sports betting, nearly 1,500 casinos, bars, restaurants and sportsbooks have been approved to host sports gambling in the state. Exposure to of-age residents and Ohio youth alike is about to increase exponentially. Up until now, Ohio was already on a concerning trajectory. In 2017, at-risk gambling doubled from 2012. Can you imagine what will happen in the next five years? Research shows that increased exposure to gambling can lead to gambling disorder in a similar manner to how increased exposure to drugs and alcohol can lead to substance abuse. Concern for at-risk residents is most certainly founded.
Ironically, media reports from Ohio about the threat of problem gambling, are peppered with advertisements to gamble, as per the following screenshot:
The state, and even gaming hosts, must ensure that residents of all-ages are equally exposed to messaging about accessible counseling and therapy.
IV. Systemic Lack of Access to Behavioral Health Resources
The most concerning part of this, is the systemic lack of access to behavioral health services in Ohio. To date, data shows that an estimated 20% of all Ohio residents (2.4 million people) live in a community that does not have adequate access to mental health professionals. Keep in mind that this is in reference to generalized behavioral health services. Access to specialized gambling disorder treatment is even geographically leaner. This is why Kindbridge Behavioral Health is stepping in to fill the void.
We offer highly-specialized gambling disorder therapy to Ohio residents (and the entire USA) in a welcoming, safe, and confidential online environment that allows people to get support today.
Problem Gamblers in Ohio:
CALL +1 (877) 426-4258