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As Ohio Casino Control Commission Approves Applications for Sports Betting, Advocates are Preparing Communities for Problem Gambling

COLUMBUS, OHIO — The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) conditionally approved sports betting licenses for eight proprietors during its meeting on September 7. Those approved were the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Browns, the Columbus Crew, Hollywood Casino Toledo, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley, JACK Cleveland Casino, JACK Thistledown Racino, and Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Problem Gambling Network of Ohio (PGNO) expects to see an increase in problem gambling after the January 1 universal launch of sports betting.

“We know from statewide data that about 1-in-4 sports bettors have a gambling problem or are at risk of developing one. Many of our neighboring states saw increased calls to their state problem gambling helplines following sports betting legalization – it’s likely Ohio will too,” says Derek Longmeier, executive director of PGNO.

Anticipating an increased need for treatment and prevention services, PGNO is preparing communities through the professional development of Ohio’s behavioral health workforce.

“A gambling disorder can be just as addictive as a substance use disorder, but can differ in how it presents and impacts individuals and loved ones,” states Longmeier. “Counselors need specialized education to competently provide treatment.”

There are still many requirements ahead for applicants before they can launch operations, including the submission of responsible gambling plans to OCCC.

These plans are an important step towards preventing problem gambling and the partnership between operators, regulators, help resources, and communities that will mitigate some of the harm from expanded gambling.

“Over the years, PGNO has developed strong relationships with Ohio’s casinos and racinos. This culture of collaboration has allowed us to partner with operators and communities to support those in need. We look forward to similarly working with sports betting operators,” says Longmeier.

While many can gamble responsibly it is important for those experiencing a problem to know that helps is available.

If You Gamble, Get Set Before You Bet, Ohio’s statewide responsible gambling campaign, has tips for keeping gambling entertaining and safe at The Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-589-9966) and are also available 24/7 to provide resources and treatment options to those in need.