The First Call for Help

Maybe no one likes to talk about it, but addiction is real. It exists in many forms from alcohol and drugs to gambling. The very thing that for some is a fun chance to win money can turn into an addiction for others.  

The Ohio Lottery wants to make a positive impact in the community, and part of that impact means making sure our players have access to the services they may need. That’s why we have a dedicated problem gambling helpline (1-800-589-9966).

Intervention specialists man the lines at the Problem Gambling Helpline

The Problem Gambling Help Line, established by the Ohio Lottery Commission in 1990, is run by theUnited Way’s First Call for Help. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week there is trained intervention specialist waiting to talk to someone who is struggling with addiction. The specialist has information at their fingertips in the form of a statewide database the covers resources for people who are suffering from an addiction. They know what each program offers, which First Call for Help Executive Director Stephen Wertheim says is imperative.

“We offer a holistic approach. Often a caller with a gambling problem has other issues as a result of the gambling addiction. They may need credit counseling, a place to stay, health care needs or food. We can help direct them to someone who can help in all of those areas anywhere in the state,” Wertheim says.

Werthheim says researchers have developed resources statewide so when a referral specialist takes a call they have resources listed for everything from rent and food assistance to counseling.

Jessica Skrzypiec is an Intervention Specialist at the Problem Gambling Helpline

Jessica Skrzypiec is a certified information and referral specialist, and she has helped a number of callers. Skrzypiec says the help line is crucial for one reason.

“This help line is important because it’s a 24/7 program where they can just pick up the phone and call and talk to a live person and say I have a problem. We get them to understand there is help for this problem, there is a place to go and we can be that first line to talk to,” Skyrzypiec says.

You can reach Ohio’s Problem Gambling Helpline by calling 1-800-589-9966.

Additional information on problem gambling and treatment options can be found on our website at or by visiting and contacting the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.

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1 Response to The First Call for Help

  1. Brian says:

    I think it is great that you are getting this information out to people. There are so many that have gambling problems and do not know who to turn to!

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