Thrills may come with gaming, but so can disaster – Youngstown Vindicator

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Sep 11, 2022
Ohioans soon will go from zero to 300 overnight.
We are talking about the number of planned Ohio sports betting kiosks — not the need for speed — but, undeniably, gaming can be almost as dangerous to our well-being.
In December, Ohio’s General Assembly approved House Bill 29, legalizing and regulating sports gaming in the state. The legislation allows sports gaming through licensed operators of online sportsbooks and brick-and-mortar establishments.
The bill set a licensing and regulatory framework and created the Ohio sports gaming lottery that will be operated through terminals at certain liquor permit establishments.
Sports betting operations may start accepting wagers as soon as Jan. 1.
The concept has been highly anticipated by sports fans and those who like to dabble in gambling.
And while it can bring a thrill and some quick cash, we caution that sports betting also can be dangerous and quickly spiral out of control, particularly for compulsive gamblers.
New nearby and soon-to-be-legalized access will make sports betting easy and very accessible.
That’s why it’s so important to set limits in personal spending and to realize the importance of sticking to them.
Last week, Ohio’s Casino Control Commission granted approval for a sports gaming proprietor license at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, which means the Austintown racino will be permitted to operate an online and in-person sports book, contingent on the racino meeting all regulatory requirements.
Several of the 300 businesses in Ohio also receiving approval for sports betting kiosks Wednesday by the Ohio Casino Control Commission are located in the Mahoning Valley.
So far, the kiosks approved include a dozen locations in Mahoning County, about four in Trumbull County and about four in Columbiana County.
Another application to operate as a local sports gaming proprietor license still is expected to come from Phantom Fireworks Inc., the Youngstown-based fireworks distributor that wants to operate a sports book location at downtown Youngstown’s Covelli Centre.
Phantom Fireworks Vice President William Weimer told our business writer Ron Selak Jr. last week that his company remains intent on filing, but still is ironing out details of its plan. It’s expected to include placing kiosks in the Covelli Centre concourse for sports betting and also remodeling a portion of the facility’s second floor for a betting area with television screens.
It all sounds very exciting for Ohio and for our region, and, indeed, it is.
But the question that remains is how will it change our Valley in the long run? And more importantly, will it take needed money out of the pockets of residents whose compulsiveness make it difficult to walk
Let’s face it, when it comes to betting, there is no such thing as a sure bet — that’s why there are odds.
The Mayo Clinic advises compulsive gamblers to talk to their health care provider or seek help from a mental health professional.
The Mayo Clinic also offers these recovery skills that may help resist urges of compulsive gambling.
l Stay focused on your No. 1 goal: Not to gamble.
l Tell yourself it’s too risky to gamble at all. One bet typically leads to another and another.
l Give yourself permission to ask for help, as sheer will power isn’t enough to overcome compulsive gambling. Ask a family member or friend to encourage you to follow your treatment plan.
l Recognize and then avoid situations that trigger your urge to bet.
l Family members of people with a compulsive gambling problem may benefit from counseling, even if the gambler is unwilling to participate in therapy.
If you think you or someone you know has a gambling problem, the National Council on Problem Gambling operates a completely confidential 24/7 hotline and text line at 1-800-522-4700.
Also, Ohio for Responsible Gambling offers help. It can be reached online at or by calling 1-800-589-9966.
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