Addicted to gambling? Ohio has plenty of help for you

Addicted to gambling? Ohio has plenty of help for you

March has been designated National Probem Gambling Awareness Month. This month also marks the first anniversary of the fourth and final casino opening in our state, so it’s important to recognize what’s being done to help Ohioans struggling with a gambling problem.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission is a member of Ohio for Responsible Gambling. ORG is collaboration with the state’s Lottery Commission, Racing Commission and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. ORG sponsors a statewide prevention campaign, funds a 24-hour help line and counseling resources.

The OCCC offers another option to problem gamblers who want to steer clear of casinos. Through our Voluntary Exclusion Program, a person can ban themselves from Ohio casinos for one year, five years, or their lifetime. So far, almost 800 individuals have enrolled.

A Problem Gambling Fund also exists to help cover the costs of prevention and treatment. It’s funded by 2 percent of the casino revenue tax. To date, $7.6 million has been set aside for this important work. I urge anyone who needs help to contact the Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966.

You’ll be directed to a community-based center where those diagnosed with a gambling problem can receive free counseling services.

Jo Ann Davidson, Columbus

Davidson is chairwoman of the Ohio Casino Control Commission and former speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.