COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Since the legalization of sports betting in Ohio, local addiction specialists have been working harder than ever to offer services to those in need.
“Support and community is huge in the gambling world,” said Cynthia Black, a gambling prevention coordinator at Maryhaven, a behavioral treatment center for those with addiction disorders.
As sports betting advertisements flood the airwaves, Black said Maryhaven has seen an influx of new clients seeking help.
“Typically, we get one or two a week, and now we’re getting like five or six a week, so it’s going up,” she said.
To respond to the increased demand, Maryhaven will host an open house for those dealing with a gambling addiction on Saturday.
“We also are going to be starting groups, which basically teach processing and psychoeducation for the gambler,” Black said. “We do offer family counseling, as well.”
In Franklin County, the Ohio Department of Health estimates that more than 100,000 people are considered at risk for problem gambling. Black said those numbers could jump now that sports betting is easily accessible online.
She said it’s important to reach out for help if you or a loved one is dealing with a gambling addiction.
“People don’t realize it’s happening until the bank account is overdrawn, or 401k is gone, cars are getting repoed (repossessed), homes are being foreclosed on — and that whole family dynamic piece just crumbles,” Black said.
Maryhaven will hold its open house Saturday at 1791 Alum Creek Drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information about Maryhaven’s services or gambling addiction resources, visit its website.