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March Tips Off Problem Gambling Awareness Month and March Madness

Published: March 6, 2023

March is an important month for responsible gambling in Ohio. For the first time since sports betting was legalized, March Madness basketball games will be tipping off in two major cities in the state — Dayton and Columbus — at the same time as responsible gambling advocates are spreading the word about responsible gambling practices and resources for Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). 

Filling out brackets for the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which pits 68 teams against each other in dramatic sudden death-style rounds (including the First Four games in Dayton this year), is already a common activity in homes, work sites, and schools across the state. But this year, the much-anticipated ritual can easily translate into going onto betting apps, which may lead to a large group of brand-new people engaging in betting without being aware of responsible betting practices and potentially developing a problem with gambling. 

As a result, the number of people who need problem gambling resources is expected to grow, and advocates are stepping up their Problem Gambling Awareness Month efforts to raise awareness and provide the necessary support. By encouraging healthcare providers to screen clients for problem gambling and raising awareness about problem gambling resources in Ohio, everyone can have a role in helping to keep betting responsible. 

Wondering how to get involved in the 20th Problem Gambling Awareness Month in your community? Try one or more of these ways: 

Share the Pause Before You Play Video and Fliers: Sports betting has changed the way many Ohioans participate in March Madness. And to make sure sports bettors have resources that speak to them, Before You Bet has launched a responsible gambling sub-campaign for sports betting, called Pause Before You Play. With lively sports visuals and engaging messaging, the campaign encourages anyone who might bet on sports to take a pause before they play to set limits, recognize the risks, and know when to stop. Shareable and customizable fliers are available, in addition to a video PSA. 

Use Before You Bet Resources: Before You Bet provides information to Ohioans to help raise awareness about responsible gambling practices and resources for problem gambling. Whether you work with veterans, youth, African Americans, Spanish speakers, seniors, gamers, or college students, there is a toolkit available for you. Toolkit assets can even be customized with your organization’s logo upon request. 

Raise Awareness of Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline: The Problem Gambling Helpline is a confidential and free resource to get help to people who might be at risk or struggling with problem gambling. Calls are answered 24/7 by specialists who are trained to respond to gambling-related questions and can relate to people who might be struggling. Before You Bet has assembled a toolkit of fliers, posters, and other resources you can use to raise awareness about the helpline in your community. And if you or someone you know is struggling, do not hesitate to call 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741. 

Participate in Gambling Disorder Screening Day on March 24: One way to increase access to problem gambling resources is by establishing a screening process in the offices, practices, and programs of medical and prevention service providers. That’s why a notable part of PGAM is Gambling Disorder Screening Day, when providers are encouraged to screen clients and raise awareness. If you are interested in learning how to implement screenings in your organization, additional resources are available from the National Council on Problem Gambling. Before You Bet also offers a non-medical, two-minute online screening quiz that people can use to rate their risk levels. 

And if you are looking for additional help and resources, Before You Bet offers a wide variety of listings for free organizations, programs, and more near you. Access the Get Help page to find online listings for support groups, financial education resources, and more.  

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