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Ohio Has Seen a 55% Increase in Gambling Hotline Calls in the Last Year

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Ohio Has Seen a 55% Increase in Problem Gambling Hotline Calls in the Last Year

Ohio gambling addiction experts reported an uptick in the number of residents contacting the state’s problem gambling hotline. 

Online sports betting in Ohio has contributed to the increase in gambling hotline calls

Abdullah Mahmood is the administrative coordinator of Maryhaven’s Gambling Intervention Program. He said the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline saw a 55% increase in contacts in the last year since sports betting was legalized. 

“The access on your mobile phone makes it easier to gamble,” Mahmood said. 

However, Mahmood believes the increase in contacts to the hotline could be a positive sign. He said the hotline is engaging with gamblers earlier in their addiction, so they’re seeking help sooner. 

“Historically we saw people reaching out for help after 15 years, 10 years of gambling,” he told WKYC-TV Cleveland. 

“So, with the increased accessibility comes more visibility for the helpline, which increases those calls in individuals getting help as well.” 

Ohioans are also reaching out to national resources.

Data shows that people in Ohio called, texted, or chatted with the National Problem Gambling Helpline 5,604 times between Dec. 1 and April 24. 

Ohio ranks eighth on the list of top 10 states where messages to the national hotline originated from. California was the highest with 21,151 messages sent to the hotline in the same period. 

The Buckeye State is the 27th most gambling-addicted U.S. state of 2024, according to a recent study by WalletHub

According to WalletHub’s data on the most gambling-addicted U.S. states of 2024, Ohio ranks 27th on the list. The state received an overall score of 39.89 and ranked 21st in gambling friendliness. 

“Gambling addictions can destroy lives the same way that alcohol and drug addictions can,” said WalletHub gambling analyst Cassandra Happe. 

“While some people may be able to enjoy casual gambling from time to time, others need to avoid temptation altogether. People with a gambling addiction may find it helpful to live in states where places to gamble are less prevalent and laws against betting are stricter.”

Fortunately, the Buckeye State also ranks 41st in gambling problems and treatment. Nevada, South Dakota, Montana, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania round out the top five. 

“PGNO aims not only to assist those currently impacted by gambling but to prevent problem gambling by promoting low-risk guidelines, sharing warning signs, and engaging the spectrum of the gambling support services system,” per the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio’s website. 

Ohioans suffering from a gambling addiction are encouraged to call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966.