Tracy Plouck, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, outlined the $4.9 million problemgambling response plan before the Ohio Casino Control Commission on Wednesday, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The commission regulates the casinos in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo.
The treatment program is funded mostly from casino taxes.
The agency said 209 addicted gamblers were treated in the 2013 fiscal year out of about 5,900 screened by agencies statewide.
A 2012 study estimated that 250,000 Ohioans are problem gamblers or at risk of developing an addiction.
The state expects to allocate $3.8 million to treatment agencies in the next year. An additional $752,499 will be used for administration by the state agency, and $335,000 will go to the Ohio Lottery Commission for advertising and promotional campaigns.
For treatment and prevention, the state gave county boards almost $1.5 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, with the requirement that 60 percent be spent on prevention and 40 percent on treatment.
Rob Walgate, vice president of the conservative American Policy Roundtable, said the amount spent on treatment, which is important, is overshadowed by how much the state is making off gambling.
“Casinos need problem gamblers to make money. They need to get people hooked to what they’re selling,” he told the newspaper.
Officials at Hollywood Casino Columbus dispute that they benefit from problem gamblers. They recently pushed responsible gambling with a “Win By Saying When” campaign.
“We want to make sure folks enjoy us as an entertainment option, to come in, gamble responsibly and have a good time,” said Gary DeWitt, assistant general manager of the Hollywood Casino.