Sports Betting Isn’t All Fun and Games – It Can Have Serious Consequences
By now you’ve seen the sports betting ads with retired football player Peyton Manning playing a game of charades with “Caesar” (actor JB Smooth) or actor Jamie Foxx interrupting a scene while shooting a fictitious movie because he just won a sports bet.
Since sports betting became legal in Ohio Jan. 1, 2023, television, social media, billboards and the like have been inundated with these comical ads. And Ohioans over 21 years of age, who can bet conveniently from their phones and at various venues such as casinos and bars, are part of the target audience.
Unfortunately, sports betting is not just fun and games for college students who may be bored or trying to earn extra money for their rent or college fees.
College students happen to be among the most at-risk population for problem gambling. This group includes individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, according to Change the Game, which was developed by the coalition Ohio for Responsible Gambling to raise awareness of the realities of youth gambling and to help prevent behaviors that can develop into greater issues later in life.
“One of the things that I think we're going to continue to see with the growth of metaverse and the growth of vr (virtual reality) types of exchanges is a younger and younger population exposed to sports gambling,” said Mark R. Lyberger, interim director of the School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration. “One of the things we’re working on here at Kent State is we’re trying to initiate strategies to facilitate and create a broader level of education at an earlier age. This is going to be a critical issue.”
Kent State’s Center for Sport and Recreation Development is creating a statewide grant proposal that will include experts from all the state universities to conduct research on the specific trends in the state of Ohio in relation to sports gambling.
“We will be looking at the pros and cons of sports gambling,” he said. “We want to conduct research to educate the public as it relates to engagement. That would be the ultimate goal.”
Education should also include these signs of problem gambling that can indicate when you or a loved one or friend is in trouble, according to Ohio for Responsible Gambling's website Get Set Before You Bet:
Borrowing money to gamble.
Lying about how much money and time is spent on gambling.
Hiding time spent gambling or hiding bills and unpaid debt.
Restlessness or irritability when not gambling.
Spending a lot of time gambling, thinking about gambling or preparing to gamble.
Exaggerating wins and minimizing losses.
The state of Ohio has many resources created by Ohio for Responsible Gambling, which is comprised of the Ohio Lottery Commission, the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the Ohio State Racing Commission, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS). OhioMHAS is the lead agency responsible for prevention and treatment of problem gambling.
Ohio for Responsible Gambling’s Get Set Before You Bet website also has a quiz you can take to assess your gambling. If you are at risk or need help with problem gambling, contact Townhall II at 330-678-3006 or the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966.