CADCA Издатель Июнь 20, 2024

The Problem Gambling Coalition of Southwest Ohio

The Problem Gambling Coalition of Southwest Ohio was established with dual aims: serving the community through providing problem gambling prevention and treatment services, and workforce development for social workers. The coalition formed in response to a rising need for gambling prevention and treatment resources in Ohio, as newfound access to online and easy gambling sources started to roll out throughout the 2020s.

The Impact of Legalized Sports Betting
Prior to the legalization of sports betting, approximately 250,000 Ohioans were documented as having gambling problems, with over 30,000 of those individuals being underage.* With the advent of legalized sports betting, particularly with easy online access, those numbers have almost tripled** and exacerbated a brewing problem among college-aged students and young adults. The ease of placing bets via smartphones has made gambling more accessible and increased the risk for additional or potential financial hazard, with individuals able to bet large sums of money instantaneously.

Dr. Gregory Stewart, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati School of Social Work and Vice Chair of Communications for the coalition, talked about how this access plays a part in the increase in gambling addiction issues in Ohio, “Now that there is the opportunity to use a telephone to place bets, that really can be an extreme situation for someone who is used to gaming. In gaming there are no penalties, but with gambling you can bet hundreds or thousands of dollars within seconds.”

The Problem Gambling Coalition of Southwest Ohio was born of this increased need for prevention and treatment efforts due to the effect gambling was having on their community residents in Ohio. The coalition fulfilled a community need for research, prevention, resources and training in the treatment and prevention of gambling addictions.

The Work of Problem Gambling Coalition of Southwest Ohio
Dr. Stewart talked about the multi-pronged nature of the coalition’s work, “We focus on gambling but also have literature and training on substance misuse and suicide prevention. A higher percentage of problem gamblers also struggle with these issues alongside their gambling addiction. You’ll see resources representing all three of these major messages at any of our events or booths.”

Proximity to the University of Cincinnati has allowed the coalition to plug into and work with the student population in ways that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. “Bachelors students studying social work are educated to be generalists, so we have many students working towards becoming prevention specialists in this area now. By the time they graduate, they will have a credential for gambling treatment and prevention, and they can go directly into employment working in this field.” The coalition has been at the forefront of creating new gambling prevention-focused courses added to the university’s courses to support the students earning their credentials in this field of work.

Helping support the next generation of specialists is a legacy that the coalition is proud of. “The college students are bringing their knowledge of social media and messaging in ways that we have not been able to get the message across in the past. They are welcomed into spaces by their peers when they go into a classroom setting or community events.”

Dr. Stewart hopes that the continued work of coalitions like his will change the narrative around online gambling, “Vendors have a responsibility for responsible gambling and so far, we have been welcomed in coming into the facilities and collaborating on solutions and providing resource materials for addiction and prevention. I think it’s a win-win for the organizations providing gambling and the community having us as part of the discussion.”

*2022 Ohio Gambling Survey Highlights 10.18.23 v2 (2).pdf
**More than a year after Ohio legalized sports betting, experts raise concerns about addiction | Ideastream Public Media

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