Ohio problem gambling hotline calls spiked in 2023

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The period after online sports betting launch in most states has seen a rise in calls to problem gambling services. Ohio is no exception. Ohio for Responsible Gambling (ORG) has released statistics related to problem gambling services in the state and say calls were up 55% from 2022 to 2023.

There were over 10,000 calls to Ohio PG helpline in 2023

Sports betting rolled out across the state on Jan. 1. Over the course of 2023, there were 10,637 calls to the PG helpline compared to 6,835 in 2022. Moreover, there was an increase in calls month-over-month throughout the year.

“While we knew calls would increase and anticipated this due to the increases seen in other states already operating sports betting, such a dramatic increase was surprising and lets us know there is a lot of work still to be done for responsible gambling advocates statewide,” said Michael Buzzelli, associate director, Problem Gambling Network of Ohio.

2022 survey shows problem gambling on the rise

In a 2022 study taken before sports betting launched in the state, the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services found that 19.8% of the state’s population, or roughly 1.8 million people, could be categorized as “low-risk, moderate-risk or problem gamblers).

This rate has tripled since 2012. The group has conducted the survey every five years in 2012, 2017 and 2022.

Additionally, the survey found that 2.8% of people in the state have a gambling disorder, which amounts to 255,000 people.

These numbers were tabulated before the expansion of sports betting in the state, so it is unclear what kind of impact the new vertical has had on instances of problem gambling.

ORG has several tools for all types of Ohio gamblers

ORG does offer a range of tools in addition to the helpline available throughout the state. Those include:

  • Time Out Ohio, a voluntary short-term self-exclusion program
  • Change the Game Plan, a program designed to help parents educate their kids about responsible gambling
  • Pause Before You Play, an awareness campaign focused on encouraging people to proactively set betting limits