March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Ten percent of Ohio’s adults are at risk for having a gambling issue and more than 90,000 Ohioans could currently be problem gamblers, according to a 2017 Ohio survey.
In Allen, Auglaize and Hardin counties, that means more than 9,000 are at a low risk of having an issue; nearly 4,000 have a moderate risk, and there are more than 500 who may be problem gamblers.
The issue impacts everyone. Children play online games that stoke the same reaction a gambler has with a slot machine. People with drug and alcohol issues often have co-morbid addictions but don’t realize their gambling is a problem. Others coping with stress or trauma use gambling as a way to temporarily ease anxiety, only to cause further anxiety over time.
Ohio For Responsible Gambling was formed to help Ohio communities reduce problem gambling and build awareness of resources available for prevention and treatment of a gambling disorder. Every Ohioan can learn more. The Before You Bet campaign (https://www.beforeyoubet.org) offers help.
March will come and go. Problem gambling in Ohio won’t. The time to change the game is now.
Rick Skilliter, Executive Director, Prevention Awareness Support Services (PASS)