Ohio For Responsible Gambling (ORG) has introduced a new player protection and responsible gambling campaign after the state launched sports betting on Jan 1.
Citing the overwhelming number of places where people can place bets in the state, with any venue holding a lottery vending licence eligible to apply for sports betting approval, the group noted that there is an increased chance of ‘catastrophic losses’.
In response, ORG has launched Pause Before You Play, a spinoff of Get Set Before You Bet, to educate local residents on the dangers of problem gambling and promote responsible gambling.
“In other states that preceded Ohio in legalizing sports betting, we’ve seen higher interest and more struggles with problem gambling,” said Amanda Blackford, Director of Operations and Problem Gambling Services at Ohio Casino Control Commission. “We want people to have fun and be responsible.”
The campaign will emphasise the importance of detecting problem gambling early before it gets out of hand and leads to catastrophic losses which can be hidden.
It comes as a study in 2017 by Problem Gambling Services found that casino gamblers and sports gamblers have the highest rate of problem gambling at 24% and 24.3% respectively.
Moreover, the report found that almost one in 10 people in Ohio either currently are or were at risk of developing a problem with gambling, equating to over 900,000 people.
Derek Longmeier, Executive Director at Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, added: “The challenges of problem gambling go far beyond the person placing a bet. Families, children, and businesses all face consequences with a person’s gambling addiction.
“The majority of Ohioans who gamble will stay within their limits. As sports betting grows exponentially in 2023, it makes sense that we will see more challenges here in Ohio.”
Under the Ohio sports betting legislation, businesses are eligible to host sports betting if they already hold a liquor license, as well as sell lottery tickets as a retail partner of the Ohio Lottery.
As a result, several bars and restaurants have opened sports betting kiosks ready to go for the Jan 1 launch date, overseen by the Ohio Lottery and only featuring a limited range of bets.