Overall Gambling Behaviors and Gambling Treatment Needs Among a Statewide Sample of Drug Treatment Clients in Ohio
Casino gambling in Ohio became available for the first time in May 2012. This gambling expansion led the Ohio substance abuse monitoring (OSAM) Network, Ohio’s drug abuse surveillance system that collects drug trend data on an ongoing basis, to amend its protocol in June 2011 to include collection of data related to problem and pathological gambling to inform current treatment and prevention needs. OSAM collected gambling data from July 2011 to June 2012 via focus group interviews of 714 drug users recruited from alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment programs throughout Ohio. Participants who reported gambling during the past 6 months (N = 412) completed the South Oaks gambling screen. This study found a prevalence estimate of 12.1 % for probable pathological gambling among its statewide sample. Sizeable proportions of participants reported that they gambled more when using AOD (23.5 %) and used more AOD when gambling (19.4 %). A majority of study participants (59.2 %) reported participation in at least one type of gambling during the past 6 months, and of those participants, only 22.2 % reported ever having been asked about gambling while receiving AOD treatment services, with just 12.5 % reporting ever having had gambling treatment services offered to them. Men were 4.1 times more likely to screen positive for probable pathological gambling than women; non-Whites were 61.0 % more likely to screen positive than Whites. Findings presented in this report have the potential to help shape and strengthen problem and pathological gambling prevention and treatment measures in Ohio.