WVXU: Gambling addiction is on the rise in Ohio. Advocates are working to meet the demand

UC added coursework focused on treating gambling addiction

According to the most recent Ohio Gambling Survey, the number of people in Ohio with a problem gambling disorder tripled from 2017 to 2022 to more than 250,000. With sports betting legal in Ohio for more than a year, that trend is expected to continue.

At the start of 2023, sports betting became legal in Ohio. State leaders said it was important to legalize sports betting because it was already happening– just unregulated and untaxed. But it’s come at a cost: experts say the proliferation of sports betting has led to an increase in addiction.

For a story on the trend, one of the experts interviewed by WVXU, was Gregory Stewart, PhD, of the College of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Cincinnati.

a photo of Gregory Stewart

Gregory Stewart of the School of Social Work at the UC College of Allied Health Sciences/photo/provided

With the growing number of young people developing gambling addictions, Stewart said UC wanted to be a part of the solution.

He said they anticipated the sharp rise in gambling addiction among young people. So, last year, the university added coursework focused on treating problem gambling. He hopes the graduates can go on not just to serve college campuses, but to fill in gaps to care across the state.

Certainly the major metropolitan areas in the state have individuals who are trained in this area,” he said. “But now the goal is … whatever county I live in, is there something close to me that I could be able to have as a local resource to support me?”

In its first year, sports betting brought in around two hundred million dollars to the state. 2% of that tax revenue goes back into treatment. Advocates like Stewart hope to use it to help as many people as possible, and to bring more awareness to its prevalence across Ohio.

“We don't want people to think, it doesn't happen in my community, it doesn't happen in my family, because it very well could be happening very close to you,” he said.

See the entire story here.

Lead photo/Susan Haigh/AP

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