National Problem Gambling Awareness Month kicked off on Monday, and with just six days until the second month anniversary of legalized mobile New York sports betting, one major supporter of the industry wants to highlight the importance of identifying and helping those who might suffer from problem gambling.
State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D), chairman of the state Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, saw his dream come to fruition on Jan. 8 and now that that vision has become a reality, he is looking to keep those who wish to place their bets safe.
“By bringing mobile sports betting to New York, we are able to allow New Yorkers to safely bet legally in their own state rather than heading to neighboring states or the illegal market,” Addabbo said in a news release Monday. “And while a large majority of players are able to regulate their usage and control their betting, there are those who will suffer from problem gambling. Through legalization, we are able to identify those people — and those who may be moving towards a gambling problem — and provide them with the resources they need to control their gaming. During National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I want to shed light on the ways we have increased our problem gaming programs in the state and bring awareness to the issue.”
Measures Being Taken for Education, Treatment
New York’s legislation has featured close to a dozen safeguards and addiction measures, and problem gaming programs in the state have a new source of revenue of $6 million each year for education and treatment.
Earlier this month the state’s Gaming Commission, Office of Addiction Services and Council on Problem Gambling, teamed up to form the Responsible Play Partnership and launched a new public service campaign.
Retail gaming sites are training their employees to spot the warning signs of problems and how to help patrons with symptoms of gaming addiction. Procedures have been created for all the mobile sports betting providers that allow customers to exclude themselves from gaming and limit their wagers when the customer raises the flag on their own betting habits.
According to the release, in the state, sportsbook operators are also required to freeze accounts and send a message to any customer when they have $2,500 in lifetime deposits and provide them with information about problem gaming resources. Sportsbooks also must inform customers about assistance for compulsive play while maintaining easy-to-find gaming assistance resources.
“I am thrilled with how popular mobile sports betting has become in New York in just a few short months,” Addabbo said. “While millions will be made available for education, now is the time where we need to monitor the process and make adjustments in all aspects of mobile sports wagering — including the problem gaming side. Whenever you introduce something new like this there will be those that either develop problem gaming issues or expand those problems. It is now our job to make sure that those individuals get the help they need.
“We cannot move forward with gaming in New York without addressing the addiction side at the same time. I want to see gaming flourish even further in our state, thus increasing educational funding, revenue and jobs, but we must have safeguards and help in place for those that have a problem. I look forward to working with those in the gaming addiction field to provide New Yorkers with the best help and resources.”
How to Get Help in New York
If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling, call the free, confidential NYS HOPELINE at 1-877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) for help and referrals to treatment.