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Make Responsible Betting a Slam Dunk During March Madness and Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Published: March 4, 2024

March is the start of the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament, March Madness, making it an ideal time of year to learn more about problem gambling awareness and encourage people to engage in various prevention strategies from the National Council on Problem Gambling. NCPG promotes events and activities during the month, along with other state affiliates, organizations, agencies, recovery groups, and more.

Play Ohio reported that in March 2023 alone, Ohio sports betting made $95 million in revenue. This year in Ohio, interest will be higher than usual, with the “First Four” of the tournament being held at the University of Dayton on March 19th. Ohio legalized sports betting in January 2023, and since then, it has seen a steady increase in individuals seeking support for a problem with gambling. 

One focus area for problem gambling experts is college students, who are statistically at a higher risk of disordered gambling. And with March Madness being one of the largest college sporting events of the year, there is even more opportunity for college students to engage in sports betting. 

According to Time, one in ten college students meet the criteria for a gambling disorder. A survey from the NCAA also showed that 60 percent of 18-24-year-olds have bet on sports, and four percent do so daily. Almost six percent reported losing more than $500 in a single day. 

The Time article explains college students are more prone to problem gambling because of the Five A’s:

  • Availability of betting opportunities
  • Acceptability of gambling socially  
  • Advertising exposure is widespread 
  • Access to spending money 
  • Age when young people experiment with risky behavior 

So, what can you do to help keep betting responsible, whether you’re a college student or not? It all starts with setting limits, recognizing the risks, and knowing when to stop. For tips on how to do this, explore Pause Before You Play’s wealth of educational resources, like the Rate Your Risk quiz and community toolkits for various audiences in Ohio.  

Whether you plan to recognize the month by starting the conversation with a loved one, accessing new resources, or spreading awareness, be sure to follow @PauseBeforeYouPlay_oh  on Instagram, Pause Before You Play on Facebook, or @PBYP_OH on X. Tag us in posts during Problem Gambling Awareness Month with #PauseBeforeYouPlay!

And lastly, if you or someone you know needs help, never hesitate to call the free and confidential Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline. Trained and understanding specialists will answer 24/7. Call 1-800-589-9966 or text 4HOPE to 741741.

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