COLUMBUS (WCMH) — People across the country are looking forward to the big game Sunday and according to the American Gaming Association, 26 million Americans will even place a bet on it.
However, this time of year isn’t a happy one for those who have trouble limiting themselves to just one bet.
Derek Longmeier, the executive director of Problem Gambling Network Ohio, said he wants people to know there is hope and there is help for them. He said the Super Bowl is the kick-off for sports betting season and it’s a time of temptation, that can be too much for those struggling with addiction.
“The Super Bowl running through March Madness, we see the highest calls to the Ohio problem gambling helpline in March than any other time throughout the year,” said Longmeier.
While officially not legal in Ohio, sports betting is being championed by some in the Ohio statehouse. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that states can legalize sports betting.
Despite the legality of sports betting, that doesn’t stop people from taking part, Longmeier said.
“There’s certainly opportunities for illegal betting online or with your corner store bookie, so certainly plenty of gambling opportunities in Ohio,” said Longmeier.
Longmeier recommends people find a safe space during this time of year and, if needed, reach out for help at any time.
“Ohio problem helpline, that number is 1-800-589-9966 and specialists are available to provide help and hope,” said Longmeier.
The signs of gambling addiction can vary but some of the things to look out for include: Hiding the amount of time and money spent on gambling, a decline in work performance, and “losing” valuable items. You can also take a test at beforeyoubet.org to see if you or someone you know may have a problem.