COLUMBUS — “After this hits, our problems will be solved!” prayed the gambler in a familiar refrain. Yet the vast majority of gamblers will play all their lives waiting to hit it big. Whether gambling online, in casinos, on lottery tickets, or in the community bingo hall, it helps to keep gambling in perspective. Governor John R. Kasich has declared March 2017 as Ohio Problem Gambling Awareness Month to coincide with the national observance.
Ohio’s county Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) Boards, community service agencies and Ohio for Responsible Gambling (ORG) – the Ohio Casino Control Commission, Ohio Lottery Commission, Ohio State Racing Commission and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services – join forces to ensure that gambling remains a fun pastime for those who want to take part, and that quality prevention and treatment services are available for Ohioans with problem gambling behaviors.
The Be the 95 percent campaign was created to raise awareness of problem gambling in Ohio. The campaign messaging and website www.the95percent.org are designed to help individuals and families understand what responsible gambling looks like, to recognize the signs of high-risk gambling and addiction, and to know how to get help for loved ones.
What does “responsible gambling” mean?
· Set a limit on how much money and time will be spent gambling.
· Pay bills first, and spend only what you can afford to lose.
· Know that gambling will not solve money concerns.
· Gamble for fun, not to avoid being depressed or upset.
Anyone who gambles can develop a problem. Groups at higher levels of risk include older adults, adolescents, college students, veterans, and racial and ethnic minorities. Individuals new to taking medications for Restless Leg Syndrome or Parkinson’s might also develop a gambling problem.
If untreated, gambling addiction can lead to serious consequences, such as health concerns, the destruction of relationships, bankruptcy, divorce, domestic violence, depression and even suicide. Among gamblers, 32 percent attempt suicide in their lifetimes.
To learn more or get help for yourself or a loved one, visit www.the95percent.org or talk to a referral counselor anytime at 1-800-589-9966, the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline.