The number of calls is on the rise
The number of calls the Problem Gambling Hotline in Ohio received in the first month of legal sports betting in the state was double the previous norm. The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) released data this week about the helpline calls, but did not yet reveal full details on the total betting handle for January.
daily average number of calls to the hotline was about 48 last month
The daily average number of calls to the hotline was about 48 last month, a significant increase from the 20 per day average in December and the 15 calls per day in January 2022. People in the 18-to-34-year-old age bracket had the biggest rise in helpline calls.
An expected uptick
Experts did expect to see an uptick in the number of people seeking help for their gambling behavior following the launch of the legal betting market, as it was a trend noticed in other states that launched their own betting markets. Problem Gambling Network of Ohio associate director Michael Buzzelli also revealed that other states saw a sustained increase in problem gambling, saying: “This is the new normal. The higher rates will stay.”
While casino gambling has been legal in Ohio for a number of years, the accessibility of online sports betting is likely a big factor in the increase in helpline calls. Ohioans can also place bets at kiosks in grocery stores and bars. Officials have also been concerned about the marketing strategies of some sportsbook operators in the state, especially those using terms like “risk-free” when advertising promotions. The OCCC has already come down hard on multiple sportsbook operators for breaching the state’s sportsbook marketing rules.
Performance of the sector to date
While the exact betting handle and sportsbook revenue figures for January are still unknown, GeoComply data reveals that there were at least 2.25 million unique mobile sports betting accounts used in the state during the month. Early estimates point towards Ohio having had a very strong debut month.
The only betting handle figure that the OCCC has provided to date is for the state’s 770+ betting kiosks. Handle for these self-service machines reached $850,000.