‘Before You Bet’ Quiz Offers Chance To Self-Check Risk For Problem Gambling

Individuals have one quick way of checking potential for gambling addiction

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has launched a quiz to help sports bettors as part of its “Get Set Before You Bet” campaign, coinciding with Responsible Gambling Education Month.

Ohio For Responsible Gambling, the state’s lead agency for prevention and treatment of problem gambling, has a website, BeforeYouBet.org, that provides information about problem gambling. It includes a link to the quiz that measures a person’s risk level for problem gambling. The website also offers a game that tests a person’s knowledge about responsible gambling as you lead one of three characters through a day in the life of a responsible gambler.

As for the quiz, OH Bets colleague Jeff Edelstein and I took the quiz, for which scores indicating problem gambling risk range from 0 to 9. A 0 reveals that person isn’t at risk for problem gambling, with 1 or 2 indicating low risk. The quiz informs that individuals with scores in the latter range may benefit from prevention messages, but would not necessarily be candidates for further intervention.

Anyone scoring within the 3-7 range is considered to have moderate level risk for problem gambling and may experience adverse consequences from gambling. However, they don’t meet diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling.

Test scores 8 or above indicate a high risk for problem gambling with negative consequences and a possible loss of control.

Edelstein scored a 5 and I scored a 2.

OH Bets colleagues comment on the quiz

The quiz is a total of nine questions and takes only a minute to complete. The questions deal primarily with how one feels (mentally, emotionally) when gambling; the motivation for gambling; and determining if gambling caused any financial problems for you or your household.

Personally, I think the quiz allows for personal reflection for anyone that gambles and has any concern about being at risk for problem gambling. If you’re honest with yourself, the test makes for a pretty good indicator about your risk.

Edelstein believes it’s a “solid quiz” and considers his own results to be “harsh, but fair.”

“I think these quizzes are important, if only for recreational gamblers to check in and make sure they’re not in over their head — or trending in that direction,” Edelstein said. “Of course, if I truly thought I had a problem, I might not take the test in the first place. Honestly, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the operators themselves to post tests like these. Just a little self-check. Can’t hurt.”

The website also offers tips to for anyone concerned about being at risk for problem gambling. The advice covers setting limits on how much you bet, keeping gambling a social activity, paying your bills before gambling, having other hobbies outside of gambling, knowing the risks before you bet, and putting family and friends before gambling.

Scott Anderson, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services problem gambling specialist, described gambling as having one of the highest suicide rates of any disorder in a report by Ohio’s Statehouse News Bureau. A three-digit 988 phone number was launched this year to replace a 10-digit number that previously served as the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Anderson believes it was a good move to change the number to a three-digit number, similar to 911.

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