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New York’s Online Sports Betting Leads to Increase in Addictions

New York’s mobile sports betting sector has been reaping success after its launch, but it has a major downside to it. It was recently reported that while the market was booming, there has been an increase in gambling addiction in young people. Almost two years since its launch, the state has handled over US$34.4 billion in online wagers with FanDuel taking the top spot.

The Empire State kicked off its legal sports wagering market almost two years ago on January 8, 2022, with four digital sportsbooks. Then gradually saw the launch of the rest five bookmakers. In its first full year, the state generated around US$700 million in tax revenue from bets alone, with another US$200 million coming from operator licensing fees.

Problem Gambling Continues to be a Concern

But, the rising popularity of mobile wagering has been a cause for alarm over the increase of more young problem gamblers. The New York Council on Problem Gambling has reported an uptick in service requests, particularly from younger individuals and their parents, indicating that a worrying trend of gambling addiction could be forming in the youth.

Meanwhile, gambling experts have also shared that they have noticed a bump in calls for help from individuals under the age of 25. There has also been a surge in women seeking support. Specialists explain that the availability of mobile sports betting platforms, allows easy access for locals, as bets can be placed via their phones, and this is a key factor in the worrying trend.

Previously, a report by the New York State Gaming Commission and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, said that there has been a 33% increase in exclusion requests in the first 12 months of the new market. It was also reported that there was a 23% spike in calls to the state’s HOPEline and that more women have started to enroll in self-exclusion services.

Some of the state’s efforts to tackle the issue include its voluntary self-exclusion process, allowing problem gamblers to exclude themselves from all gambling activities, as well as the use of ad blockers to minimize betting lures. While the sports betting market continues to expand, it remains a critical challenge for the state to address the increase in problem gambling.

iGaming Looks Like a Real Possibility

However, New York’s online gaming expansion does not end with mobile sports betting, as lawmakers seek to legalize iGaming. They predict that it could generate more than US$1 billion in revenue which would help the state fill the budget gaps projected to come in the next years. This has been in the work for years, but it is still not a legal option in the state.

At the moment, seven other U.S. states already offer iGaming as a legal option, including the neighbouring Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. Senate Racing, Gaming & Wagering Committee chair Joe Addabbo who sponsors legislation for its official introduction commented that New York needs to follow the example not to lose customers to other states.

Source: “Mobile sports betting booms in New York: Young people struggling with gambling addiction emergeFingerLakes1, January 2, 2024