A bill to establish a Problem Gambling Advisory Council (PGAC) in New York has been delayed. The proposed legislation (SB6701) has hit a barrier in the state Assembly after passing the Senate earlier in June.
The bill’s status now raises many questions about the problem gambling initiatives in New York in the future.
The purpose of establishing a PGAC was to improve access to prevention and treatment services throughout the state.
New York falls short of creating a problem gambling council, again
This is the fifth time lawmakers in New York have introduced a PGAC bill since 2015. It also marks the second delay in the past year.
Passing unanimously through the state Senate on June 1, SB 6701 was hoping for a different fate than its predecessor. But it didn’t happen.
Identical to a bill SB 3103A introduced in Feb. 2019, the bill states:
“The development of a Problem Gambling Advisory Council will help to identify issues affecting those suffering from a problem gambling disorder and recommend ways to make prevention and treatment more accessible throughout the state.”
Exactly one year ago, a proposal passed the Senate and House but hit an obstacle when Gov. Katy Hochul rejected it due to cost concerns.
Concerns about problem gambling increase while New York gambling rises
New York online gambling has become the largest in the US. In New York, there are currently:
- 31 casinos or racinos
- A state-sponsored lottery
- Horse racing
There are also plans for three downstate NY casinos. Many sport betting companies and gambling magnates are in the race to obtain a full license for a retail casino in New York. Therefore, concerns about problem gambling and its impact on individuals and communities have never been bigger.
Meanwhile, State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. has been trying to push for the legalization of online casinos in New York. Although the bill died in March, there is still a potential for a new bill for the next year.
New York’s online sports betting gambling market has recently surpassed $1 billion in lifetime tax revenue, which makes it the first jurisdiction to reach that landmark. With so many people gambling, PGAC proponents say there is a need for more responsible gaming tools and initiatives.
While the future of the proposed bill remains uncertain, supporters of problem gambling prevention and treatment will continue to monitor the state legislature’s next steps.
Other tools to help New York players with gambling problems
In the meantime, New Yorkers can use other tools to help them with responsible gambling, like the NY Responsible Play Partnership (RPP). The partnership was made between:
- New York State Gaming Commission
- New York State Office on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services
- New York Council on Problem Gambling
New Yorkers can access the National Council on Problem Gambling or the 1-(800)-GAMBLER hotline.