Keeping the Big Game Fun for All

By: Oyauma Garrison

It’s the biggest sports betting week of the year. According to the American Gaming Association, a record 68 million American adults are expected to bet $23.1 billion on Super Bowl LVIII, up some 40% from last year.

That’s why our team at Maryhaven was talking about it with 10TVagain with NBC4 and joined this week’s Columbus Metropolitan Club panel. Problem gambling was thrust into the spotlight a year ago when legal sports betting began across the state of Ohio, and the boom in betting hasn’t relented.

We know that most people can gamble without issue—but not everyone. And as more and more people find gambling accessible, acceptable, and appealing, more people need help untangling from their need to gamble—which is the mission and purpose of Abdullah Mahmood, our new Gambling Intervention Program Coordinator, and Janet Thode, our Gambling Prevention Coordinator.

Abdullah has met with a steady stream of sports bettors since the beginning of January. To date, these clients are predominantly men, ages 18-26 and, in nearly every instance, they started before they met the legal age standard and before Ohio legalized it.

“Early exposure, gambling with friends at 15 or 16, can easily devolve into a difficult issue if it’s multiplied by more and more opportunities,” Abdullah says. “24/7 access magnifies the problem.”

Janet finds engaging young men and women a life purpose, first as a teacher and more recently as a prevention specialist helping to educate Central Ohio youth, educators, and those in the juvenile justice system about addiction and the best paths forward.

Abdullah and Janet represent great additions to our team. As one of the first to offer gambling addiction treatment and now one of only ten state recognized treatment centers, we want to be sure we offer valuable, experienced counselors and resources to gamblers and their loved ones.

Abdullah trained with Bruce Jones here at Maryhaven and spent time with the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, giving him a comprehensive perspective on the issues of sports betting. In advance of the big game, he says that those who are concerned about their own or someone else’s gambling can watch for some key indicators.

“How much you spend matters, but so does the amount of time you spend on the activity. Also, do you feel a need to make more bets or bigger bets to enjoy the game?” Abdullah says. “If you can’t set a budget and or adhere to a time limit, it’s worth reaching out to talk.”

Janet notes that families can get help, too. Thanks to the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County, families of problem gamblers can secure personal and financial counseling at no cost. “We know loved ones can suffer the consequences too, ranging from stress-related health issues to divorce, bankruptcy and involvement with the legal system. We can help.”

If you or a loved one needs to better understand your limits, Maryhaven stands at the ready. Start here or call us at 614-324-5425.

About the Author

Oyauma Garrison

Maryhaven President & CEO

Oyauma Garrison serves as the President & Chief Executive Officer at Maryhaven, Inc, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals and families lead healthy lives free from addiction and mental health challenges by providing education, treatment and support.

Learn more about Oyauma here!


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