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March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

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With sports betting officially legal in Ohio, Empower Tusc is warning the community of signs of problem gambling.

 New Philadelphia, Ohio – Empower Tusc in collaboration with the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), dedicates March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

Problem gambling is defined as all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family, or vocational pursuits. Approximately 2 million U.S. adults (1% of the population) are estimated to meet criteria for severe problem gambling. Another 4-6 million (2-3%) meet the criteria for mild or moderate problem gambling. There has been a significant increase in the number of calls to the Help Line:

  • There has been a 227% increase in helpline calls from January 2022 vs. January 2023 
  • There has been a 135% increase in helpline calls from December of 2022 (the last month prior to legalization) vs. January 2023, the first month of legalized sports betting. 
  • The Problem Gambling Helpline received an average of about 48 calls per day in January 2023, vs. 20 calls per day in December 2022 and 15 calls per day in January 2022. 
  • Warm transfer line calls increased 66% from December 2022 vs. January 2023. 
  •  Total chats increased 45% from December 2022 vs. January 2023.
  • Ohio had 11.3 million sports betting transactions in the first two days of January, which was the most amongst the 20 states with legal mobile sports betting.
  • Ohio ranked second in the nation for Super Bowl sports betting transactions at 12.6 million from 1.1 million accounts (trailing New York’s 13.8 million).
  • In the entire month of January, Ohio had more than 160 million sports betting transactions, with approximately $1 billion being bet (the Super Bowl was approximately $80 million of that). 
  • Ohio registered more than 784,000 unique accounts across the 16 live sportsbooks. There were more than 234,000 transactions between midnight and 1 am local time the first hour of legal sports betting. 
  • Cincinnati was Ohio’s busiest sports betting city, totaling nearly 2 million geolocation transactions during the first two days of legalized betting. Columbus was second with just over 1 million transactions, followed by Cleveland with approximately 772,000. 

Problem Gambling Awareness Month is designed to coincide each year with March Madness, during which Americans are expected to wager over $3 billion. For the majority of adults, gambling can be a fun and entertaining experience, but there are risks involved. Sports bettors are at particularly high-risk for developing a gambling problem. According to the National Survey on Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences 2.0, four out of five sports bettors reported often needing to gamble more for the same feeling of excitement.

“Across Tuscarawas County during Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and throughout the year, Empower Tusc will remain committed to raising public awareness about what problem gambling is, and most importantly, the resources that are available to get help,” said Jodi Salvo, Empower Tusc Coalition Coordinator.   

PGAM brings together a wide range of stakeholders, such as public health organizations, treatment providers, advocacy groups and gambling operators. They work collaboratively to let people know that hope and help exist. The hashtag for the campaign this year is #PGAM2023, which participants are encouraged to use across various social media platforms.

For more information about problem gambling and how to increase awareness of problem gambling, go to and If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-GAMBLER or visit Help is available 24/7/365 – it is free and confidential.

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