Problem Gambling Network of Ohio issues ‘wake up call’ as helpline contact increases 227%

Cleveland, OH
Image: Shutterstock

The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio has reported that contact with its problem gambling helpline increased by 227% in the year between January 2022 to January 2023 as the state opened its regulated sports betting market. 

Publishing its annual report in tandem with Problem Gambling Awareness Month in March, Problem Gambling Network of Ohio noted that there was a 135% increase in helpline calls between December 2022 and January 2023, highlighting the impact the regulated market opening has had. 

Revealing further data on the impact of the regulated market, the report highlighted that Warm transfer line calls connecting gamblers in need of additional support increased by 66% from December 2022 to January 2023 and total chats increased by 45% between the two months. 

“We knew the numbers were going to increase,” said Derek Longmeier, Executive Director at Problem Gambling Network of Ohio. “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.”

Putting some flesh on the percentages, Longmeier noted that Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline received an average of 48 calls per day in January 2023 compared to 20 calls per day in December. 

He explained that those who are contacting the helpline are people who have begun gambling in the last year and that the fastest-growing age range of callers is those 18-34. 

“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,” added Amanda Blackford, Director of Operations and Problem Gambling Services, Ohio Casino Control Commission.