Legislation Could Address Gaps In New York’s Handling Of Problem Gambling

Written By Derek Helling on June 29, 2022 - Last Updated on July 10, 2022
State Council May Be Selected And Dedicated For New York Problem Gambling Issue

Leaders in the state see gaps in how the state handles New York‘s problem gambling, and some of them, like New York Sen. Joseph Addabbo, are taking action to address those lapses. Addabbo and others have approved legislation that would direct more state resources toward the cause.

Specifically, Addabbo’s bill and its Assembly companion would create a Problem Gambling Advisory Council. If created, the Council could work to present the state with new solutions for New Yorkers.

New York Problem Gambling Council is a signature away

The bills, S409 and A658, have cleared both chambers of the New York legislature. They would create the new council and specify protocols around it. For example, the Council will have to meet at least twice each year.

The 13-member Council would consist of:

  • The Commissioner of the OASAS (Office of Addiction Services and Supports)
  • The chair of the New York State Gaming Commission
  • Four appointees of the President of the New York Senate
  • Four appointees of the New York Assembly Speaker
  • One member of the Senate Minority Leader will appoint
  • One member of the Assembly’s Minority Leader will appoint
  • An appointee from the governor

Additionally, the bill would require the Senate President and Assembly Speaker to each make two of their appointees representatives of community-based behavioral health services providers. According to a press release from Addabbo’s office, the Council’s purpose would be to:

“…develop and recommend strategies to ensure availability and access to problem gambling programs and resources, including information and resources regarding the prevention of problem gambling, for individuals throughout the state.”

“They 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 problem gambling HOPEline 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.”

“Finally, the council will develop an annual report due by October 1st to the governor and legislature containing its findings and recommendations concerning problem gambling.”

It’s unclear whether and, if so, how soon Gov. Kathy Hochul could sign the legislation into law. Addabbo seems optimistic about its promotion of responsible gambling should she do so.

New York senator and others tout benefits and explain need for Council

On Tuesday, Addabbo spoke with Mike Mazzeo of sister site PlayNY. He spoke about the legislation and the issue he believes it will help address.

“It shouldn’t just be March where we highlight problem gambling, it’s year-round. And I’m just looking big picture. We did online sports betting last year. We’re doing the downstate licenses this year.”

“And I have every intention of pushing or advancing iGaming, then we’d better be ahead of the curve. And any kind of layer we can put on like this council for problem gambling or addiction, even pre-addiction, that’s part of what this advisory council would hope to address, I think is important.”

In May, Jim Maney, the executive director for the New York Council on Problem Gambling, expressed that the state needs 24/7 services for individuals who reach out seeking assistance with a pathological gambling issue. Maney stated as an example of the gap that calls to a state helpline go to voicemail at 3 a.m.

Should Hochul sign the legislation, it will take effect 180 days after. If the Council is effective, that will begin a new era of treatment for New York casinos and their problem gambling.

Photo by Shutterstock.com
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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