Sen. Joe Addabbo has co-sponsored a bill that would create a New York State Problem Gambling Advisory Council. A matching bill also emerged in the state Assembly.
If approved, a 13-member council would make findings and recommendations to the governor and legislature — including an annual report due by Oct. 1 — on how to prevent and treat problem gambling in the Empire State.
“It shouldn’t just be March where we highlight problem gambling — it’s year-round,” Addabbo told PlayNY. “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.”
Bills would create more resources for NY responsible gambling
According to a press release, the council will meet no less than twice a year. Addabbo, running for re-election in District 15, said he will ensure this happens.
Per matching bills in the Senate (S409) and Assembly (A658), the council will need to create strategies to ensure the state makes available resources for problem and responsible gambling in New York. Jim Maney, executive director for the New York Council on Problem Gambling, has mentioned the need for 24/7 services — i.e. making sure HOPEline calls aren’t going to voicemail at 3 a.m. Addabbo agrees.
The council will also evaluate the impact that online sports betting has had on problem gambling. There has been an increase in the number of calls to the HOPEline since Jan. 8 launch.
Makeup for NY Problem Gambling Advisory Council
The 13-member council would include the following individuals:
- Office of Addiction Services and Supports commissioner
- New York State Gaming Commission chair
- Four members appointed each by the Temporary President of the Senate and Assembly Speaker
- One member appointed each by the Senate Minority Leader, Assembly Minority Leader and the governor
The Temporary President of the Senate and the Assembly Speaker must appoint at least two representatives of community-based behavioral health services providers.
The bill now awaits action by the governor. If approved, it will take effect 180 days after it is signed into law.