WVXU: A year into Ohio's legalized sports betting, gambling addiction is on the rise

UC expert says awareness of helpful resources is key

More than 250,000 Ohioans have a problem gambling disorder, according to the most recent Ohio Gambling Survey. The number of people with the disorder tripled between 2017 and 2022 and, after sports betting became legal last year, experts expect the trend to continue.

On a recent Cincinnati Edition on WVXU, Gregory Stewart of the UC College of Allied Health Sciences was one of the experts on a panel discussing problem gambling, one year after it became legal in Ohio at the start of 2023.

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

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

Stewart was asked about the demographics of the people getting into sports betting.

"One of the communities would be the African-American community," said Stewart, who is also the vice chair for communications of the Problem Gambling Prevention and Treatment Coalition of Southwest Ohio. "As we look to what the advertising is centered towards, you see some major celebrities and their outreach. So we would say to many communities, be aware that gambling can be entertaining for many people, but for some individuals, it can be a problem."

Stewart says it is important to let people facing a challenge with gambling addiction know that resources are available.

"One of the things that we hope to have happen with our coalition is we are sharing the news that if there are occasions that a person feels that they themselves have a challenge or if a family member may have a challenge, that there’s resources to help with that," Stewart said.

Stewart said young people especially, with their frequent phone usage, are susceptible to developing gambling problems.

"We know that young people are very savvy with their phones, and there are some safeguards that we are asking the industry to put in place to help prevent access to some of these sports betting apps," he said.

See the entire story here.

Lead photo/Amit Lahav/Unsplash

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