Ohio residents may soon have the opportunity to make legal bets on their favorite sporting events with the launch of online and live sports betting. It could be an exciting new way for people to engage with their favorite athletes, but experts are warning that this change may also present mental health challenges for Ohioans.
Big Jump In The Number Of Problem Gamblers
With the exponential growth of online-based gambling and the recent spike in sports betting, mental health professionals are deeply concerned about the potential for Ohio’s population of problem gamblers to skyrocket. According to University of Cincinnati social work visiting associate professor Gregory Stewart, there are already an estimated 250,000 individuals dealing with a gambling issue living in Ohio, and 16% of those gamblers are under the age of 18.
This means that any increase in gambling access and availability could be particularly consequential for younger generations who may not possess the experience or same understanding of addiction behavior necessary to keep it under control.
He points out that it’s difficult to anticipate the degree of growth in numbers due to legalized online sports betting in Ohio, particularly because bettors can place bets through their mobile phones.
“Ohio being a large state within the United States, we’re anticipating a dramatic increase in individuals participating,” Stewart said. “And because of that large participation, a certain percentage of those individuals will experience problems with their gambling.”
Grant For Problem Gambling Treatment
The University of Cincinnati is leading the way in gaming addiction treatment and prevention. As part of Ohio state’s initiative to gain a better understanding of problem gambling, they have granted UC $15,000 to train current faculty, students, and alumni in this field. This grant makes UC the only university to receive such funding, proving that its commitment to tackling this issue is exemplary.
Furthermore, the investment by Ohio state into gambling addiction treatment is noteworthy: 10% of revenue after payouts are taxed will be allocated to tackle this issue, amounting to 2% of total money bet during the year. An experienced team motivated to break the cycle of addiction and with Ohio state ensuring necessary funds are provided shows a responsible effort from all involved parties.
Anti-gambling advocate Les Bernal believes that the proposed sports betting regulations are inadequate, especially after seeing what has happened in other states where it is already introduced.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Bernal, executive director of Stop Predatory Gambling. “The state does this to give the appearance that people are protected public officials from both political parties are shielding their eyes from the serious harm that predatory gambling is inflicting on the families of Ohio.”