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Problem Gambling Concerns Grow Stronger in New York

Since the introduction of legal mobile sports betting, New York has seen a rise in problem gambling concerns and lawmakers are taking measures to mitigate the issue. For instance, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko introduced a bill titled Betting on Our Future Act in Congress to ban predatory online sports wagering ads in all TV, radio, website, and other platforms.

The congressman represents of major segment of the Capital Region and designed the recent legislation on the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969, which forbids advertisements from tobacco companies. This way the lawmaker is looking to mitigate online betting and the heavy marketing and promotion campaigns around it from private operators.

These Ads Lure Younger Demographics

Tonko commented that the most vulnerable populations in the country and society are being prayed upon by the influx of advertising which attracts people at a tender age. Those are high schoolers, college students, and young adults. He said many operators are pushing a known addictive product to young clients as did tobacco companies who marketed cigarettes to young people.

Meanwhile, in New York fantasy contests operators are taking advantage of a loophole allowing them to offer pick’em games to individuals under 21 years of age. PrizePicks which was one of those has recently settled with the New York State Gaming Commission to pay a penalty of US$15 million and suspend their unlawful operations until they secured a proper permit.

The congressman noted that when talking with recovering gambling addicts, he became concerned about the easy accessibility of online sports betting for future generations of those who already deal with gambling issues. He explained that for many people geographical distance from casinos was one of the challenges which made gambling harder. But with phones, this is eliminated.

That is why in New York, policymakers opted to increase funding for problem gambling education, as the state Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering forwarded a bill to increase spending on resources to address gambling problems. This includes more support for statewide resource centres and helplines, as 1% of tax revenue from sports betting goes to that.

However, Tonko remarked that while increasing funding is always welcome, the treatment options for problem gambling are often limited. He explained that helplines often treatment to those who call, but standardized care and insurance coverage for gambling disorders is still a problem, and said that services are not affordable or accessible for everyone.

iGaming is on New York’s Radar

In the meantime, there could be even more access to online gambling, as lawmakers in the Empire State are looking to introduce digital casinos as a legal option. Sen. Joe Addabbo recently resubmitted legislation S4856, which would amend the state’s betting law to legalize mobile casinos and potentially help the state fill the budget gaps.

Source: Murke, Molly “Mobile gambling soars as concerns about the fallout also increaseTimes Union, February 19, 2024