Associations Partner With Council To Address Underage Gambling

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on October 24, 2022
new york underage gambling education awareness

After almost ten months of mobile sports betting in New York, three statewide associations have joined forces with the New York Council on Problem Gambling to enhance underage gambling prevention.

Namely, NYS PTA, Youth Voices Matter-NY, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) teamed up with the Council to bring further awareness to problem gambling and its potential influence on youth in the state.

Council Prevention Manager Stelianos Canallatos said:

“The effects of youth gambling are far reaching. With the recent legalization of mobile sports betting in NYS, as well as the increased concern for blurring lines between video gaming and gambling, it is imperative that we are proactive in supporting youth to make healthy decisions surrounding risky behaviors such as gambling, and in creating safe environments where youth can thrive. We are excited for this opportunity to be proactive in building capacity to support youth gambling prevention.”

Addressing underage gambling

New York officially rolled out legal online sports betting on Jan. 8th, 2022, enabling several different sportsbook apps to offer their services across the state. With the launch of NY sports betting and plenty of retail casinos in the area, it seems the legalization of online casinos could be the next step for gambling in the state. That’s why it is now more crucial than ever to focus on youth problem gambling prevention.

In a joint effort, each participating organization will address this critical issue throughout its systems.

The two-year project, led by the Council, aims to reach more than 300,000 New Yorkers directly.

The participating organizations will seek to understand the attitudes and beliefs of each association’s staff, partners, and membership, as well as pave the way for the next steps in awareness raising.

According to the latest survey results, almost 40% of NYS youth in grades 7-12 gambled in 2021. As NYS-specific data indicates, the use of alcohol, marijuana and energy drinks is higher among youth who gamble than those who don’t.

Furthermore, over 30% began gambling before age 10 (NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports, 2014). Such an early start age increases the likelihood of long-term consequences like addiction to gambling and using substances. These individuals are also more likely to have mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, including suicidal thoughts and attempts.

NYS PTA Executive Director Kyle Belokopitsky commented:

“Youth gambling continues to be an expanding issue and crisis facing our youth, families, communities, and schools. We know the correlation between youth gambling and risky behaviors like substance use, and increases of health and wellness issues like youth depression and anxiety. NYS PTA stands ready to work to see that each family, youth, educator, and community member has the tools, awareness, and resources to combat youth gambling, as together we will Shine a Light on Every Child with One Voice.”

Lack of support for youth in need

Comprehensive readiness assessments collected throughout NYS indicate that NY stakeholders and community leaders are concerned about youth gambling but are not prepared to act accordingly.

It is primarily because of a generally low level of support for youth gambling prevention activities and efforts, with a low level of readiness to act. Even those who are ready to conduct activities in order to prevent youth gambling usually lack the knowledge, support and resources to do so.

Garry Anthony Johnson, State Chair, Economic Development, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) NY State Conference, added:

“We need to understand both the varied influences to our youth regarding gambling and the tools required to address the issue before it becomes a greater problem. The NAACP is committed to ensuring that our youth reach their potential without further unnecessary obstructions which would hinder their social, educational, and economic opportunities.”

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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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