New Bill to Create Problem Gambling Advisory Council in New York

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. co-sponsored a bill to address problem gambling in New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo has approved a bill to further address problem gambling in the state. The approved bill, S.409 and A.658A, would establish a NY Problem Gambling Advisory Council. The Council would identify problems and recommend specific treatment options for problem gambling.

As New York Increases Legalized Gambling – Launch mobile sports betting in January 2022 and discussing three new casinos in the New York area – the state legislature is also working to make problem gambling prevention and treatment more accessible.

“As co-sponsor of this bill and chair of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Betting, I am pleased that we are keeping our promise to provide additional resources and raise awareness about problem gambling in our state. “said Addabbo.

The legalization of mobile sports betting has brought higher than expected funds and educational revenue to our state, and the recent approval of casino licenses in the downstate will create additional jobs and resources, but this legislation demonstrates that we have not forgotten that we must prioritize problem gambling and resolve it in a timely and proactive manner.

What does the bill say?

If the bill becomes law, casinos will deposit $500 for each slot machine or table game approved by the commission. These deposits would go to the Commercial Gambling Revenue Fund and specifically support problem gambling education and treatment.

The Problem Gambling Advisory Council would have 13 members. Members include the commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcohol and Drug Services (OASES), the chairman of the Gaming Commission, and eleven additional members appointed by legislative leaders, including one appointed by the governor.

The board would be required to meet at least twice a year and develop problem gambling strategies. Strategies may include recommendations for problem gambling education, prevention and treatment. The legislation also requires the board to study the impact of mobile sports betting on problem gambling services and produce an annual report with findings and recommendations.

When will the bill be enacted?

With Senate approval, the bill now goes to the Governor’s office. If the governor signs it, the new law will go into effect 180 days later.

Most bills involving the expansion of gambling in the state also support problem gambling initiatives. For example, Bill S8412, which would authorize interactive online games, allocates $11 million in problem gambling education and treatment, nearly doubling the $6 million currently dedicated to gambling addiction.

New York also has a model in neighboring Pennsylvania, which publicly follows its success in addressing problem gambling.

How much of a problem is problem gambling in New York?

OASES recently conducted a survey to answer this question.

The survey revealed that 5% of adults have exhibited problem gambling behaviors in the past 12 months. A total of 10% of students in grades 7-12 also showed signs of problem gambling or needed treatment.

New York is one of 35 states that have legalized online gambling in one form or another.

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