Survey says: Gambling up with Perrysburg teens

Sent Trib
Survey says: Gambling up with Perrysburg teens

PERRYSBURG — A recent survey analysis shows online gambling is up among teens in Perrysburg Schools.

An analysis of the 2022 Youth Survey for Perrysburg Schools was presented to the school board on Monday by William Ivoska, Ph.D. He has done this type of work for the district since 2014. He is retired from Owens Community College and taught survey research analysis.

“Gambling activities are up,” Ivoska said. “Perrysburg actually appears to be higher than the county.”

In the six categories of gambling surveyed, every type increased on a county-wide level from 2020-22. Perrysburg exceeded the 2020 county-wide level in every category in 2022, and led the county during 2022 in four of six categories.

“The important thing, as I mentioned to the board, is to get the numbers out and people talking about it. Get community dialogue and get parents dialoguing. The magic is in discussion and the action plans that people might start taking within their community, or within their nuclear family,” Ivoska added in a follow-up interview.

Adolescent gambling statistics were gathered for seventh to 12th grades combined, in these categories: cards, skill, sports, lotto, scratch offs, fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports.

Perrysburg was higher than the county rate in cards, skill, scratch offs and fantasy sports.

In 2020, Wood County cards were at a rate of 10.9%, which increased to 16.8% in 2022, but for Perrysburg it was 19%. Games of skill were similar, with Wood County at 11.7% in 2020, an increase to 17.8% in 2022 and at 18.3 % for Perrysburg.

Fantasy sports gambling was lower, but showed similar increases, with Wood County at 7.5% in 2020 and up to 9.4% in 2022, but 10.3% for Perrysburg. That was somewhat moderated with daily fantasy sports, with 4.3% in 2020 for Wood County, and an increase to 6% in 2022, with Perrysburg at 5.6% in 2022.

“If any of you watch basketball, you know that they are advertising and marketing to people. You know they just passed recreational gambling starting in January of 2023. All of the Eagles, and veterans halls and bars will have gambling stations available. So we are likely to see gambling increasing for parents and to trickle down into kids,” Ivoska said.

Problem gambling among 11th and 12th grade boys increased for the county from 2.7% in 2020 to 6.7% in 2022. In Perrysburg the 2022 rate was 5.8%. Ivoska looked closer at the demographic group because he called them “risk-takers.”

“It’s not a ton, but we ought to start looking at gaming and gambling,” he said.

The most prevalent kind was betting money on sports teams and fantasy sports.

Ivoska pointed out that the Super Bowl was full of sports betting commercials from FanDuel and DraftKings.

He also looked at the cross-over activity he called “Game-bling,” or gambling within a game. The variations on that activity included what are called loot boxes, where the odds of succeeding with an activity are increased by spending tokens, which might be purchased with use of a credit card.

In Perrysburg, only 3.4% said that they were gambling within a game. With only 150 respondents in this subset, Ivoska still considers it worth watching.

He noted in the 2022 Wood County Youth Survey report that “The gambling and gaming industries are showing increasing overlap, as the distinctions between these once separate industries have become blurred.”

That blurring between industries makes it harder for the survey research to clearly indicate the true level of the problem, but he believes that the combination of the gambling-like activities would indicate that the gambling situation is probably worse than it appears on the surface.

He reported in the Perrysburg presentation that “Problematic gaming among adolescents can lead to problematic gambling as an adolescent and as an adult. Additionally, problematic gaming and problematic gambling are related to other addictive behaviors, including addition to alcohol, nicotine and other drugs.”

He also pointed out that the issue is not likely to go away, as the Ohio legislature passed House Bill 29, which legalized sports betting, starting in 2023.

“Things are percolating in a direction that kids could get hooked on it,” Ivoska said.

He also pointed out that recently both Perrysburg and Bowling Green State University now have eSports teams, and other high schools are also adding the teams.

Data was gathered in October and November on adolescents in public school districts in the county as part of the 2022 Youth Survey, which was commissioned by the Wood County Educational Service Center and funded by the Wood County Prevention Coalition and the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.

The county’s elementary, junior high and high school students were included in this report and represent the original 2004 cohort group of schools. The survey is done every two years.

A previous article covering the county-wide results was reported by the Sentinel-Tribune on Feb. 22.

The 2022 survey was collected from a total of 9,359 students, minus 425 surveys that were excluded due to inconsistent answers and 1,056 from Penta Career Center that were not included in the overall analysis leaving a total of 7,861.

To see the full report, visit To see the Perrysburg report, visit the Perrysburg schools website.