Valley calls to gambling helpline increased 50% since sports gambling began
Ohio has reported people have spent more than $1 billion on sports bets in the first two months since being legalized within the state and collected 10 percent of tax revenue for the state.
However, calls to the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline have increased as well.
In the Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties, calls increased 50 percent to the same period last year, prior to the introduction of sports betting in the state, up from 14 calls in January and February of 2022 to 21 calls for the same time period in 2023.
Michael Buzzelli, Associate Director of Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline, tells 21 News that the calls across the state to the helpline averaged about 500 per month before 2023 and are now well over 1,000.
Buzzelli said both individual gamblers and family members are calling to find information and resources, many of whom are calling due to significant financial and family consequences.
He also stated his organization is seeing a lower age demographic calling, 18-24 and 25-34, and reports seeing people calling sooner to report problematic gambling concerns.
Anyone who needs to speak about gambling addiction is asked to call 800-589-9966.