March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month
Published with permission from the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio
March 1, 2022
March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). PGAM is a national grassroots campaign designed to increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of support services. Problem gambling includes all gambling behavior that may disrupt or damage any aspect of one’s life such as family, friendships, or career pursuits. According to the 2017 Report on Problem Gambling Services, of those who gambling Ohio approximately 10% can be categorized as at-risk or problem gamblers. With sports betting on the horizon, now is the time to begin promoting the need for problem gambling services.
Although the Ohio legislature passed House Bill 29 in December legalizing sports betting, regulations must be made into rule and licenses applied for before Ohioans can legally place bets. This process must be completed no later than January 1, 2023. Until then, any sports betting that you see in your community has not been vetted by the State of Ohio and may not have consumer protections such as messaging for the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline.
Sports betting has one of the highest rates of problematic gambling with approximately 1-in-4 sports bettors experiencing a problem. We know that as access to gambling increases so do rates of problem gambling. In the first 23 days of mobile sports betting, $1.62 billion was wagered in New York and their state helpline saw a 46% increase in calls. With mobile sports betting, every Ohioan will have access to the equivalent of a slot machine at their fingertips.
Now is the time to take action and prepare for what is coming. The PGAM theme is Awareness + Action and encourages you to have conversations around problem gambling and promote the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline and other treatment services those who may need it.
1. Raise Awareness
There are many free toolkits and resources that are available to promote awareness around problem gambling. Ohio’s statewide campaign Before You Bet encourages those who may gamble to do so responsibly by setting limits and knowing the warning signs. The National Council on Problem Gambling and Problem Gambling Network of Ohio have free resources such as posters, press release templates, fact sheets, and social media posts that you can use to promote PGAM.
2. Take Action
Stay up-to-date on sports betting and the rule-writing process by following the Ohio Casino Control Commission and Ohio Lottery Commission. Engage with Problem Gambling Network of Ohio to ensure the voices of Ohioans are considered and receive updates as we learn more about what sports betting will look like.
3. Share with Others
Let people know where and how to get help if they need it. Problem gambling treatment services are free or low-cost to Ohioans. The Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-588-9966) is a 24/7 confidential helpline that can provide resources and treatment referrals to those who are concerned for themselves or a loved one.
Problem Gambling Network of Ohio
The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio strives to generate awareness, promote education, and be an advocate for quality treatment of problem gamblers in the state of Ohio.