OHIO (WTRF)-Ohio is opening the door to legalizing sports betting, but the big question is: What will that do to Ohio’s gambling problems? 

While gambling on it’s own isn’t a problem, but it’s not all fun and games if it spirals into something else. 

Sports waging in Ohio is becoming legal January 1st. That means you could place bets not only at casinos and racinos in the state, but also at kiosks at bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and anywhere on your phones. But at what cost? 

Advocates have seen gambling addiction go up, not in Ohio yet. But in other states where you can legally bet on sports. Help lines have reportedly jumped 30 to 50 percent, and advocates say the same thing may happen here. 

That’s why paying attention to the signs of a gambling problem is key. 

Advocates say spending more time and money on gambling is your first giveaway. If it gets worse, gambling could trigger depression, anxiety, or even suicidal thoughts. If that happens, advocates say get help immediately. 

“We encourage people to make that call, even if they’re not ready for treatment,. make taht call, get those resources and have those initial conversations, and that might get folks a little more comfortable saying, ‘you know what? I am ready to take that next step for treatment.”

Mike Buzzelli, Associate Director of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio

Advocates say gambling treatment is not only free for those struggling in Ohio. But for their loved ones. 
If you or someone you know is fighting any form of gambling addiction, call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1 (800) 589-9966.