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Survey provides Huron County gambling activity highlights

By Dr. Beth Williams • Mar 5, 2018 at 2:00 AM

The Huron County Board of Mental Health & Addiction Services (MHAS) just released an analysis of the Ohio Gambling Survey — round two data specifically relating to adults in this area. The round two survey is a follow-up to the baseline survey done in 2012, before any of the state’s casinos and racetrack-based racinos had opened. The initial exploratory survey produced statewide data only.

“This analysis helps us to tailor our local prevention and awareness-building efforts around problem and responsible gambling audiences,” said Dr. Beth Williams, executive director of Huron County MHAS. “We know that most people gamble a little, but it doesn’t need to be detrimental to themselves or their families.”

The 2016-17 data collection gathered 800 surveys in this area and more than 24,000 completed responses across the state. The survey included the same prevalence measurement used in 2012, the Canadian Problem Gambling Index, which allows for a summary of current gambling activity among Ohio adults, and highlights statewide changes in gambling behavior over a four-year period.

A few of the most notable statistics for the Huron County area are listed below:

Gambling survey 2016-17 highlights:

• Almost 61 percent of Huron County adults partake in the lottery.

• Huron County prevalence rate of adult at-risk/problem gamblers is 7.6 percent or 3,349 people, lower than the 10 percent for the state.

• Men were at-risk/problem gamblers at two times the rate of women, 10.0 percent to 5.2 percent. 65 and older adults had very low rates of at-risk/problem gambling at 1.6 percent.

• In Huron County, 26 percent of at-risk/problem gamblers reported a family history of gambling problems; 44.3 percent of at-risk/problem gamblers had used alcohol or drugs while gambling, and 28 percent gambled while intoxicated.

• Of at-risk/problem gamblers, 24.8 percent reported serious depression in the past 12 months, and 23.3 percent were under a doctor's care due to stress.

• Individuals with some community or technical college education had the highest rates of at-risk/problem gambling at 14 percent.

Ohio adults gamble in many different ways: 50-50 raffles, bingo, casinos, keno, horse racing, scratch-off tickets, lottery tickets and sports betting to name just a few. Proceeds from the taxes on casino profits and the Lottery sales help to support schools, local governments, and prevention and responsible gambling campaigns and programs. Funds from Ohio’s taxes related to gambling revenues ensure that any Ohioan who needs treatment for gambling disorder can obtain care at no cost. The risk-taking behavior of gambling does provide some financial resource to help if the behavior becomes a problem.

Dr. Beth B. Williams is executive director of the Huron County Board of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

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