Kristin McCloud
Executive Director
Pathways of Central Ohio
740-345-6166 x211

Kay Spergel
Executive Director
Mental Health and Recovery
for Licking and Knox Counties

With More Gambling Opportunities; More Gambling Addiction Resources Also Available

(NEWARK, OHIO)  With March upon us, Licking County residents look forward to warm weather, St. Patrick’s Day, and filling out their March Madness brackets.  Few realize that March is also known for another important reason: it’s Problem Gambling Awareness Month.  Gambling opportunities have grown in Ohio with four new casinos and new racinos (race tracks with video lottery terminals) opening across the state.  March is dedicated by Governor John R. Kasich as Ohio’s Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

In Licking County, Mental Health and Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties and Pathways of Central Ohio have joined the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) in sharing information so that community residents, parents and young people understand what responsible gambling looks like and what to do when gambling stops being fun and starts to become a problem.

What are some signs of problem gambling?

  • Bragging about winning, exaggerating wins and/or minimizing losses.
  • Spending a lot of time gambling, thinking about or planning to gamble.
  • Restless or irritable when not gambling.
  • Borrowing for gambling.
  • Hiding time spent gambling or hiding bills and unpaid debts.
  • Lying about how much time or money is spent on gambling.

Although a small percentage of people will develop a gambling addiction, those few people who develop a gambling addiction may cause pain and damage to numerous lives,” explained Kay Spergel, Executive Director at Mental Health and Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties. “We make sure that quality services are available for prevention of problem gambling and for treatment when it is needed. This Awareness Month helps us get the word out.”

A number of resources are now available for people faced with problem gambling behavior in themselves or a family member.  Pathways of Central Ohio’s 2-1-1/Crisis Hotline offers referrals for gambling treatment in Licking County, as well as help with other concerns that can be impacted by gambling, such as housing, food, employment, financial counseling, etc.  When needed, state-funded treatment for problem gambling is available through community allocations that go to Mental Health and Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties.

If you believe that someone you love has a gambling problem, some simple steps can get a conversation started:

  • Talk in a comfortable, private place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted.
  • Keep it simple and straightforward; focus on your concern for the person and behavior.
  • Be specific about how the behavior is affecting others.
  • Be clear about expectations.
  • Allow the person to respond, and listen without passing judgment.

Mental Health and Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties and Pathways have partnered to offer a website,, that has resources available including safe gambling tips and where to get help.

For more information about problem gambling services in Licking County, contact Pathways of Central Ohio at 2-1-1 or 1-800-544-1601.