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Legal Sports Betting Has Started in Ohio. Now What?

Published: January 2, 2023

Since House Bill 29 was signed into law in 2021, Ohio has been preparing for the start of legal sports betting. With the expansion of this new form of gambling throughout the state, it is more important than ever to spread responsible gambling messages and resources. 

Sports betting is already the most popular form of gambling in the state, due to how easy it is to access and the pre-existing popularity of sports. Even before legalization, sports betting advertisements already had a heavy presence during most televised sports events, directing viewers toward phone apps, in-person sports books, and kiosks. And now that betting is legal in Ohio, it is easier than ever for people who might never have gambled before to try betting for the first time, resulting in more people struggling with a problem with gambling.

The rapid-fire nature of online sports betting also presents new challenges and risks. With a majority of betting expected to take place through phone apps and websites, it is easier to place repeated bets, which can lead to a pattern of chasing losses and a problem with gambling. Micro-bets also let gamblers bet on small parts of the game as it unfolds in real time, which can lead to a similar cycle of repeated betting that can put people at risk. 

With these challenges — a larger gambling audience and rapid-fire betting — in mind, Ohio responsible gambling advocates have been planning for this moment. Responsible gambling organizations across the state are offering gambling addiction treatment, giving help to those that need it, and spreading awareness of responsible gambling resources. Here’s how you and your organization can get involved: 

Share the Pause Before You Play PSA & Resources

In anticipation of the start of legal sports betting, Before You Bet has launched a responsible gambling sub-campaign focused on sports betting called Pause Before You Play. The campaign encourages everyone who might engage in sports betting to take a pause before they play and set limits, recognize the risk, and know when to stop. The campaign includes shareable and customizable digital assets, fliers, and a video PSA for use by local community groups. 

Raise Awareness of the Problem Gambling Helpline 

Sports betting-related calls to Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline increased even before the start of legal sports betting, and the need is even greater now that sports betting has officially kicked off. The Problem Gambling Helpline is available to those who are worried about their own sports betting and gambling habits, and those who are concerned about someone they know. Trained, understanding specialists are standing by to answer the free and confidential Problem Gambling Helpline 24/7 at 1-800-589-9966 or by texting 4HOPE to 741741. An awareness-raising toolkit of customizable and shareable social media posts, posters, fliers, and other assets are also available to community groups. 

Increase Access to Problem Gambling Help In Your Community

Ohio offers lots of ways for people who might be struggling with a problem with gambling to get help, including the Problem Gambling Helpline, online listings for treatment and peer support programs, and a two-minute quiz to help gauge if someone is  at risk for a problem with gambling. But other gambling addiction and problem gambling support organizations have a role too. There is a great need for people who can help those who might be struggling, on a professional and volunteer basis. Get involved in your local community, and you too can have a role in reducing the negative impacts of gambling in Ohio. 

Do you think you or a loved one could have a problem with gambling? Confidential and non-judgmental support is available 24/7 by calling the free Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or texting 4HOPE to 741741. 

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