Study: Nearly 250,000 Ohioans have gambling problem

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A study released today by Ohio for Responsible Gambling shows nearly 250,000 Ohioans have a gambling problem.

The phone survey asked 3,600 Ohioans for demographic and income data as well as information on where, when and why they gamble.

About one percent of Ohioans are compulsive gamblers.

"I'm the story you hear about," said Tom Leksan, who was has been treated for compulsive gambling. "The guy who had it all and lost it all."

Tom Leksan was a prominent attorney for 30 years, but his  gambling addiction ended his career and marriage. Now he fears that others could be at risk of a gambling problem when the Horseshoe Casino opens.

The Central Community Health Board (CCHB) is preparing for the potential growing number of those with gambling problems.

"I do have on staff, three chemical dependent councilors who have been trained to provide treatment for individuals who have problems with pathological gambling issues," said Bill Epps, Director of Outpatient Services at CCHB.

Officials with the Ohio Casino Commission say more than 100,000 people in Hamilton County are at low to moderate risk of having a gambling problem.

Two percent of revenue generated from the four Ohio casinos will go toward education and treatment for those at risk.

"I think the funding from the casinos will be helpful," said Leksan. "But it is a decease if you can catch early enough, you don't get rid of it but you can keep it arrested and controlled."

Officials anticipate between $6 million and $8 million will be generated from Ohio casinos that will go toward gambling treatment and counseling centers each year.

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