February 23, 2023 3 min read

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Ohio’s Problem Gambling Hotline Sees Influx of Traffic

Calls placed to the helpline have increased significantly over the first month of legal sports gambling in the state

The activity became legal on January 1 and has since driven significant revenue for operators and tax for the state, but it has also seen a rise in the number of calls placed statewide with the Problem Gambling Hotline.

Calls to Hotline Double

According to the organisation, calls have more than doubled from December when 20 average calls per day were received. This number went sharply up in January when the number of registered calls was 48 per day. Comparing these numbers on annual bases, the numbers are even more worrying as only 15 calls were placed in January 2022, for example.

The uptake is not all too surprising as Ohioans have long been waiting for the opportunity to place a bet on the outcome of a big sports event, especially the Super Bowl. According to GeoComply, a geolocation compliance firm, there are 2.25 million unique accounts registered in the state.

These numbers have naturally translated into more people seeking help through the Problem Gambling Hotline. This is not all bad news, though, because it means that people who now need help are actually seeking it.

According to Problem Gambling Network of Ohio associate director Michael Buzzelli, this is in line with the experience of other states. But Buzzelli is not confident the numbers would disappear. It’s what he calls the new normal and argues that these numbers are here to stay, cited by Cleveland.com.

However, there are certain aspects that need addressing. Buzzelli worries that sports gambling is ubiquitous, and advertisements can be seen everywhere. While there is a fair degree of mistrust towards casinos, sports gambling seems to be doing well in the court of public opinion which enables it to spread even further.

More Young People Gambling

The cliché is true, says Buzzelli, as sports betting is indeed at people’s fingertips. Whether they are watching a football or basketball game, players can now place wagers. Another worrying trend is that many of the people who call are between 18 and 34 years old, and they have mostly started gambling in the past year.

Problem gambling is often cited as an issue by lawmakers who oppose gambling – they tend to argue that because of the legalization of sports gambling, people slide into addiction. Trade groups such as the American Gaming Association have opposed such statements and insisted that it’s thanks to regulated operators and companies that consumers are aware of responsible and safe gambling practices – something that offshore companies cannot offer.

Journalist

Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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