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Ohio Sports Betting Update: Casinos To Be Allowed to Select Between Local or National Helpline

Ohio Sports Betting Update: Casinos To Be Allowed to Select Between Local or National Helpline article feature image
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Photo credit: James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Ohio sports betting launch is quickly approaching, and when legal mobile and in-person betting goes live on Jan. 1, 2023, casinos and mobile operators will have the choice of which gambling helpline to use.

1-800-GAMBLER has been used for decades in the U.S. as a national helpline. On the local level, states with legalized sports betting were previously required to provide a gambling helpline in their advertisements. Ohio retail and online operators will be able to choose between their local or national helpline to include on their ads and additional resources pages.

There are pros and cons if operators in Ohio decide to use the national helpline as their primary gambling resource on advertisements.

Pros and cons of using the national helpline (1-800-GAMBLER)

Pros

  • 1-800-GAMBLER is well known by many people as a national helpline and can be remembered in stressful situations.
  • Gives those in need a direct resource to contact without any confusion.
  • Easily shareable number on ads and social media.

Cons

  • As a primary resource, 1-800-GAMBLER call centers may be overwhelmed with the volume of calls they receive.
  • Will result in many local or state call center employees losing their jobs.
  • The word ‘”gambler” naturally has a negative connotation. This may not look great as the primary resource for gambling addiction.

Pros and cons of using the state or local helpline

Pros

  • Local call center employees may be able to personally connect with callers if they work in the same state or city.
  • States that have legalized online sports betting can double or triple their workforce depending on the demand for gambling addiction resources. For example, states like New York or Arizona will require more call center employees due to the high population.

Cons

  • Hours may vary drastically by state, county, or city,  which will directly and negatively impact those who wish to seek assistance.
  • States may have to seek donations to be able to employ a considerable workforce. Donations may not come as easy as it has for the national helpline.
  • If there are multiple state helpline numbers, callers may become confused when trying to choose the correct number to contact. Ohio’s helpline phone number is 1-800-589-9966 — not quite as easy to memorize as 1-800-GAMBLER.

Looking Ahead

Other states have discussed the use of a singular national hotline, but for now, it’s still unknown whether operators (retail or online) will elect to use the national or state helpline in The Buckeye State.

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