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A year into Ohio's legalized sports betting, gambling addiction is on the rise

a group of people seen from behind sitting at a bar with various sports games on tvs
Amit Lahav

According to the most recent Ohio Gambling Survey, more than 250,000 Ohioans have a problem gambling disorder. The number of people with the disorder tripled between 2017 and 2022 and, after sports betting became legal last year, experts expect the trend to continue.

State leaders said it was "inevitable" to legalize sports gambling in the state since it was already happening without regulation and taxation. However, experts say the ubiquitous nature of online sports betting apps has led to an increase in addiction.

On Cincinnati Edition, we examine whether sports betting could lead to a rise in problem gambling, how it's different than other forms of betting, and how a local university is helping build a workforce of counselors to meet the demand.


  • Gregory Stewart Ph.D., associate professor, University of Cincinnati School of Social Work and vice chair for communications of the Problem Gambling Prevention and Treatment Coalition of Southwest Ohio
  • Rachel Johnson, 2023-24 coalition chair,  The Problem Gambling Coalition of Southwest Ohio
  • Timothy Fong, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA

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Corrected: February 7, 2024 at 9:47 AM EST
A previous version of this post misstated the number of Ohioans with a gambling addiction. It has been corrected.
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