New York has once again failed to establish the widely-discussed Problem Gambling Advisory Council. Last week, proposed legislation for the creation of the problem gambling board failed to gain traction at the state Assembly after previously being passed by the Senate. Its status has now raised concerns about its future and the state of problem gambling measures in the state.
Concerns over the increase of problem gambling cases in the Empire State emerged shortly after the state introduced its mobile sports betting market in January 2022. New York Council on Problem Gambling reported that more and more young adults from the jurisdictions have contacted it to seek help about their compulsive gambling activities and habits.
SB6701 is at an Impasse
However, lawmakers assure that despite the failure of creating a Problem Gambling Advisory Council, they are still committed to battling problem gambling. The Legislature’s session concluded but it could reconvene in the summer to address unfinished topics. But there are no assurances that the bill and its Assembly counterpart, AB1056, will be revisited by lawmakers.
The bill states that it would establish a PGAC in the state to identify issues regarding those who experience any degree of problem gambling. It would also recommend ways to make prevention and treatment more accessible for everyone. Meanwhile, the council’s members would be appointed by the governor and the legislature, and feature members of the gambling industry, mental health professionals, and affected players.
Currently, New Yorkers who want help for a gambling-related disorder have several options at hand. This includes the New York Responsible Play Partnership, which includes the New York State Gaming Commission, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports and the New York Council on Problem Gambling. There is also the National Council on Problem Gambling or the 1-(800)-GAMBLER hotline.
Last June, a similar bill passed both houses of the State Legislature, but it was vetoed by Gov. Kathy Hochul. She cited cost concerns as reasons for the veto. Meanwhile, this latest proposal is the fifth instance of lawmakers trying to launch a PGAC since 2015. However, there is still hope for the current bill as Legislature could revisit it in the next session.
Recent Activities Against Problem Gambling
Earlier this year, New York’s Problem Gambling Resource Center announced an initiative to examine the effects of the state’s mobile sports wagering sector. This was due to concerns over accessibility being harmful to players. Western New York Problem Gambling Resource Center said calls to the organization doubled down last year.
But despite the bill’s failure, New York is still implementing protections for problem gambling. At the start of the month, the New York State Gaming Commission and Office of Addiction Services and Supports introduced the voluntary self-exclusion Support program allowing local gamblers to willingly enroll and take a break from playing for a certain period of time as a way of tackling the problem.
Source: Danzis, David “Once Again (For The Fifth Time), New York Falls Short Of Official Problem Gambling Advisory Council” PlayNY, June 16, 2023