City Landmarks Light Up Yellow As NY Further Emphasizes Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Written By Dan Holmes on March 18, 2024
New York city skyline lit in yellow for a story on Gov. Kathy Hochul designating March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Using her power of proclamation, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month last Tuesday.

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), the New York Council on Problem Gambling, and the New York State Gaming Commission are collaborating to form the Responsible Play Partnership for the purposes of the Problem Gambling Awareness Month event, bringing to center stage the need for help and treatment for problem and responsible gambling in New York.

“Problem gambling is often a hidden addiction that can go undetected and untreated,” the announcement from the governor’s office read, “and result in financial, emotional, social, occupational, and physical harm, moreover, it can have permanent devastating consequences for individuals, families, friends and others in their lives who are impacted.”

Problem Gambling Awareness Month emphasizes need to help those in need

On March 12, 13 locations – including state buildings and historic sites – were illuminated in yellow to commemorate Problem Gambling Awareness Month. This included One World Trade Center, Niagara Falls and the Alfred E. Smith State Office Building. March 12 was also recognized as Gambling Disorder Screening Day.

On that date, participating organizations provide resources to those who feel they may have a gambling problem. New York State allocates millions of dollars of funding via tax revenue for problem gambling programs like Gambling Disorder Screening Day.

“New York continues to lead in providing responsible entertainment for millions while bringing in record-shattering revenue for education, youth sports, and problem gambling prevention,” Hochul said in a statement.

“We also remain committed to supporting New Yorkers struggling with addiction across our state through significant investment in prevention, treatment and recovery services.”

As the New York sports betting market continues to produce record-setting betting activity and revenue, and with the potential legalization of online casinos in NY, many are concerned that not enough is being done to safeguard consumers.

“As the numbers clearly show, more and more New Yorkers of legal age are participating in regulated gaming, and it is incumbent upon the Gaming Commission to ensure that all wagering is conducted fairly and responsibly,” Robert Williams, executive director of the NYSGC, said in the press release.

“In addition to requiring licensed operators to have comprehensive responsible gaming measures in place, we continue to highlight and promote the invaluable resources offered by OASAS and the New York Council on Problem Gambling so that those who need help have access to services.”

Problem gambling bills make way through gaming committee

The focus on problem gambling is also evident in state legislation: Three bills have advanced through the New York Senate gaming committee. All three bills would impact gaming in the Empire State.

Senate Bill 8439 has language that if passed, would result in at least $6 million of funding for problem gambling programs. It would levy a 1% tax on mobile sports betting in New York.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo is the sponsor of SB8439 and also Senate Bill 1557, which would establish the statewide gambling age at 21. Currently, some video lottery terminals permit gambling by people under 21, but at least 18.

The third bill is Senate Bill 1550, sponsored by Sen. Leroy Comrie. That legislation would require advertisements for gambling to include a warning about the risks of gambling addiction. Comrie’s bill would ensure the NYSGC and the state’s Addiction Services Commissioner cooperate to regulate gaming advertisements for compliance.

On March 12, Addabbo also participated in a virtual seminar on problem gambling. This was at least the second virtual event on responsible gambling that Addabbo took part in.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a freelance writer for PlayNY. An author of three books about sports, he previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. Dan enjoys writing, running and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.

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