Legal sports betting highlights concerns for gambling addiction in Ohio

DAYTON — Its the second day of legal sports betting in Ohio. The new law means big money for the state, but there are also concerns about what it means for potential gambling addictions for more Ohioans.

In Ohio, there are now a number of ways that a person can place a legal sports bet. They can place bets at sportsbooks, like the one that opened Monday inside Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, or by using kiosks and apps.

Legal sports betting in Ohio creates the lure of fun and the potential for big-time winnings in a massive operation. An Ohio Legislative Service Commission study estimated a 10 percent tax on net revenue from sport betting could bring in $24 million dollars total in the first full fiscal year of legal sports betting in the state.

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Of that money, 98 percent of it will go to public and private K-12 schools. The remaining two percent goes toward problem gambling assistance.

“We know that as you increase advertising and as you watch these companies try to get customers, which is what we expect them to do, you’re going to see more people who maybe didn’t have a gambling problem before, " Gov. Mike DeWine said. “Now they do have a gambling problem.”

In a one-on-one interview with News Center 7′s John Bedell in December, DeWine said he didn’t have regrets about signing the bill that legalized sports betting in Ohio.

“This is inevitable that we have this in Ohio,” DeWine said. “But we have now an obligation to monitor it and to make sure it is, in fact, working and also to make sure that these companies comply with the law.”

Derek Longmeier, Problem Gambling Network of Ohio’s executive director, said Ohio had the largest single launch of sports betting out of any state.

“That certainly has this concerned as we look at al the options to engage,” Longmeier said.

News Center 7 asked Longmeier asked if they are ways a person can detect a gambling problem with a friend or family member.

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“Be really good listeners if people seem to be preoccupied with gambling. If they’re talking about financial problems that they’re having when there was really nothing else that you know of that’s going on, that those financial problems would come in,” he said.

Inside Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, around the Miami Valley’s first brick and mortar sportsbook counter, responsible gaming brochures with the Ohio Problem Gaming hotline listed are available.

“We want people to have a good time, but we also realize that we need to be there for those that need a little help,” Dave Schleter, Hollywood Dayton Sportsbook Manager, said.

Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County has one of Ohio’s problem gambling counseling and treatment centers. You can contact them at (937)-461-5223. Additional information can also be found at www.phdmc.org/client-services/addiction-services.

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