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The Challenges of Identifying Problem Gambling Online

Published: July 31, 2023

When most sports betting was done in physical locations, like an in-person sportsbook or casino outside of Ohio, identifying someone struggling with a problem with gambling was a little easier. But since the legalization of sports betting in Ohio, most sports betting is now happening online using cell phone or computers. And that change has brought many challenges for responsible gambling advocates in getting help to people that need support. 

Even as many sports betting platforms are beginning to experiment with using data and AI to spot when a bettor might be going beyond responsible play, those kinds of efforts are still in the early stages. It’s not clear which measurements are most helpful in spotting someone who might be struggling, for instance. 

“Technology at this moment is clearly a beacon of hope for dealing with this, but questions remain,” said Alan Feldman, a Distinguished Fellow in Responsible Gaming at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ International Gaming Institute to GCN. “What do we need to measure? When do we need to measure it? How do we need to measure it? None of those things have been clearly answered.”

Because technology has not yet provided a definitive solution for identifying someone who might be struggling, it’s important to remember that resources are available to help if you or someone you know could be experiencing a problem with gambling. Those resources include:

  • The Before You Bet Quiz: This quiz can help you gauge your level of risk for problem gambling. It is not a substitute for a medical diagnosis, but it only takes two minutes to complete and can be shared with members of your community. 
  • Time Out Ohio: Time Out Ohio is our state’s voluntary exclusion program, where people who feel they should not participate in gambling can voluntarily ban themselves from casinos and racinos. 
  • Gamban: Gamban is an app that blocks all access to sports betting and gambling apps on your phone and computer. It is available for all operating systems, and you can get free access to a subscription for one year through Time Out Ohio. 

And if you are concerned about your sports betting or gambling habits or those of someone in your life, do not hesitate to call Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline. Calls are answered 24/7 by trained and understanding specialists who can offer free and confidential support. Call 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741. 

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