With the six-month anniversary of legalized mobile sports betting in New York fast approaching on Friday, July 8, the Empire State is raising more awareness to problem and addictive gambling.
New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., Chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-34th District) co-sponsored a bill to combat addictive wagering.
That bill - S 409A/A 658A, which establishes the Problem Gambling Advisory Council (PGAC) – has been approved by the legislature.
Mobile sports wagering launched with four operators on Jan. 8. Four others since have joined and the ninth, BallyBet, is expected to begin taking bets in the near future..
The PGAC - which will consist of 13 members, including the commissioner of OASAS (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services), the chair of the Gaming Commission, and 11 others - will identify issues affecting those suffering from a problem gambling disorder and recommend ways to make prevention and treatment more accessible.
Bill Will Become Law if Gov. Hochul Signs
The bill, which passed the state Senate and Assembly before the legislative session ended on June 4, is now on the way to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk for her to either veto or sign into law.
“As co-sponsor of this bill and chair to the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, I am pleased that we are fulfilling a promise to provide additional resources and raise public awareness for problem gambling in our state,” Addabbo said in a news release. “The legalization of mobile sports betting brought higher than forecasted educational funds and revenue to our state, and the recent approval of downstate casino licenses will create jobs and additional resources, but this legislation demonstrates that we have not forgotten that we must prioritize problem gambling and address it in a timely, proactive manner.”
As part of legislation earlier this year that established new casino development in New York - specifically downstate - the legislature required casinos to deposit $500 annually into the Commercial Gaming Revenue Fund for every slot machine or table approved by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC).
These funds are exclusively used for problem gambling education and treatment purposes.
Examining Effectiveness of Current Safeguards
If signed into law, the PGAC will make findings and recommendations to Gov. Hochul and the legislature on how to prevent and treat problem gambling in the state.
The council can meet as many times as they want, but no less than twice per year.
The PGAC also will examine the impact of mobile sports betting on problem gambling services, including whether there was an increase in the number of calls placed to the state’s problem gambling HOPEline (1-877-846-7369) or outreach to local problem gambling resource centers, the need for additional staffing, or whether there was an increase in the number of individuals placing themselves on the list of self-excluded persons at gaming facilities.
An annual report will be due by Oct. 1 to Gov. Hochul and the legislature to report its findings and provide recommendations concerning problem gambling.
According to the news release from Addabbo’s office, a recent OASAS survey found that 5% of adults exhibited problem gambling behaviors within the past year, while 10% of 7th-12th grade students showed signs of problem gambling or needed treatment.