DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — As of January, Ohio is the 32nd state with live sports betting. People are now able to legally gamble in the state. 

Since 2023 is the first full football season while sports betting is active, it comes a concern of a rise in gambling addictions. 

“If you’re spending money that you need to pay the rent or pay your car payment, then that’s going to get into trouble,” said Derek Longmeier, executive director of Problem Gaming Network of Ohio.

September is considered Responsible Gaming Education Month. While sports betting can create fun and revenue streams, experts are concerned about an increase in gambling addiction.

Experts say there are several signs to look out for. 

“If you’re spending more time than you’d planned, if you’re spending more money than you planned, then those can be signs,” Longmeier said. “Also, thinking about if I’m gambling while I’m drinking or if I’m gambling while I’m depressed, things that to be really mindful of.”

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), 28% of Americans are intending to bet during the current NFL season. Sports betting engagement is up over twenty percent and is only expected to grow.  

Cait Debaun is the vice president of responsibility for AGA. She says if you do plan to participate, remember the responsible gaming tool kit. 

“These are tools that are built into apps,” said Debaun. “So as you log on, you can set deposit limits, time limits, withdrawal limits to make sure that, you know, you have control of how you engage in this added entertainment.”

Since Ohio is one of the five more recent states added to list of legal betting, the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio introduced a new campaign – Pause Before You Play. 

“We recognize that, especially with sports betting, it’s new to the state. As we look at all the marketing that came through, it can be really easy to get confused or just bogged down by all the promotions and events. And I guess the tip there is, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” Longmeier says.

If you or someone you know are experiencing signs of a gambling addiction, you are encouraged to call the helpline at 1-888-532-3500.