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Ohio Earns Five Awards at 2023 National Problem Gambling Conference

(COLUMBUS, OH) -- Amid the rapid expansion of the sports gambling and gaming industry, Ohio has established itself as a national leader in promotion of responsible gaming and the prevention and treatment of gambling disorders. That reputation was further bolstered last week during the 37th Annual National Problem Gambling Conference in Washington, D.C., where several state awareness campaigns and initiatives earned national awards of excellence.
Hosted by the National Council on Problem Gambling on July 26-29, the national conference brought together professionals from all facets of healthcare, research, government, and the gambling industry to network and learn about ways to promote responsible gambling behaviors. Ohio’s delegation included almost 40 professionals representing state agencies and provider organizations, including the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), Ohio Casino Control, Ohio Lottery and Ohio State Racing Commissions, which together oversee Ohio’s responsible gambling efforts under the umbrella of Ohio for Responsible Gambling (ORG).
Ohio earned the following national awards:

  • Public Awareness Campaign Award – ORG’s Make the Call awareness campaign, which promotes the free, confidential 24/7 Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-589-9966) earned recognition as the best public awareness effort nationwide.
  • People’s Choice Award – ORG’s Pause Before You Play sports betting print ad was selected by peers as the best responsible gambling education campaign.
  • Media Award – WNWO-TV Toledo was recognized for a story aired during March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month, highlighting the journey of Steve Kapela, MSW, LISW-S, LICDC-CS-GAMB, Director of Gambling Treatment, Prevention, and Recovery Support at the Zepf Center.
  • Best Corporate Website – TimeOutOhio, a website managed by the Ohio Lottery and Casino Control Commissions, provides education and sign-up services for Ohio’s program to allow for self-ban from gambling. The website offers visitors the ability to ban themselves from Ohio’s casinos, racinos and sports gaming for one year, five years, or a lifetime. Once validated, an individual is not permitted access to any gaming property during the length of the self-imposed ban.
  • Jim Wuelfing Prevention Award – awarded posthumously to Amanda Burke, Ph.D., who served as a champion for Problem Gambling Services, an Assistant Professor at Kent State University and worked as a problem gambling prevention specialist at Townhall II, a Portage County nonprofit provider.
“While having our work acknowledged is gratifying, what’s truly rewarding is seeing this partnership deliver high quality outreach and prevention education to help Ohioans know how to gamble responsibly and how to get help if it’s needed,” said OhioMHAS Director Lori Criss.
“Ohio’s collaborative efforts to provide information and resources on responsible gambling is a testament to Ohio for Responsible Gambling’s shared goal of helping Ohioans,” said Matthew T. Schuler, Executive Director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission. “The Commission is grateful that the work of ORG and its partners is being recognized by those in the national prevention and treatment community.”
Ohio Lottery Commission Director Michelle Gillcrist added, “The Ohio Lottery Commission is proud to partner with other state agencies and organizations in the development of tools and resources to teach our residents how to participate in gaming in a fun and responsible manner. Being recognized with these awards is a testament to our commitment to being on the forefront of responsible gaming, problem gambling prevention, and education that can be adopted by others.”
To learn more about Ohio’s responsible gambling initiatives, visit the ORG website: . If you, or a loved one, need help for a gambling issue, please call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966.
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Media Contacts:
Eric Wandersleben | 614.359.6754 | [email protected]
Ohio Lottery
Danielle Frizzi-Babb | 216.774.5746 | [email protected]
Ohio Casino Control Commission
Jessica Franks | 614.914.2529 | [email protected]