NBC4: How to identify a gambling addiction during awareness month

Via Delaney Ruth, NBC4

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — March 12 is Gambling Disorder Screening Day and the goal is to help identify people who are at risk for developing a gambling problem or addiction.

Experts at Maryhaven, an addiction treatment center in Columbus, said three out of every 100 people can have a gambling problem. Abdullah Mahmood, the administrative coordinator of Maryhaven’s gambling program, said he has noticed an increase in people asking for help since sports betting became legal in Ohio in 2023.

March happens to be Problem Gambling Awareness Month and one of the biggest sports betting events is right around the corner. “March Madness is a big time in which people do bet on sports in which people develop problems as well,” said Mahmood.

He said white men between 18 and 26 have the highest risk of a sports betting problem. “This affects everyone regardless of race, color, demographics or your socio-economic class, however we know there are groups who are at more risk than the general population,” said Mahmood.

Whether you are into sports betting, slot machines or online gambling, the warning signs are typically the same, like lying to loved ones about gambling, not disclosing your losses or betting more and more money to feel the same thrill according to Mahmood. That’s why Maryhaven has a free online screening for problem gambling that was launched just a week ago.

“People taking the five question questionnaire can gauge whether or not they are at risk, but all you have to do is answer yes to any of the five questions to indicate whether or not you are at risk for problem gambling,” said Mahmood.”

You can’t see a gambling addiction by looking at someone, but Mahmood said their brain may look the same as someone dealing with an alcohol problem or drug addiction. Mahmood said that is why a simple survey is key. “We’re trying to let them know, ‘hey you might be at risk for problem gambling’ and want to get information to those individuals as well,” said Mahmood.

For resources on problem gambling or to see how you can get help for yourself or a loved one, click here. To take the short questionnaire to see if you are at risk for a gambling addiction, click here.


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