Problem Gambling Calls To NY HOPEline Still Up As Hope Remains For More Funding From NY Sports Betting

Written By Mike Mazzeo on May 24, 2022

There continues to be an increase in problem gambling-related calls to the HOPEline since the Jan. 8 launch of legal online sports betting in New York.

Still, the increase wasn’t nearly as drastic in April as it was in the previous three months.

After year-over-year call increases of over 40% during the first three months of 2022, April saw only an 11% uptick, according to the state’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).

Emphasis rises on responsible gambling as NY sports betting grows

As of May 15, New York moved into the top five all-time among all states — regardless of launch date — in online sports betting handle ($6.9 billion).

That has led to $493.1 million in gross gaming revenue for NY sportsbooks and $251.5 million in state tax revenue.

New York agencies continue to take steps to provide necessary services for problem gamblers. The NYSGC, New York Council on Problem Gambling and OASAS visited gaming facilities throughout the state to promote responsible gambling.

Signage featuring the first-ever Quick Response (QR) code recently debuted at Resorts World Catskills, MGM Empire City and several other gaming facilities.

The QR code enables problem gamblers to connect with locally trained professionals in real time. You simply need to point your phone camera at the code. The phone will ask if you would like to open a link to the website

Representatives discuss potential for additional funding

On May 16, Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemb. Gary Pretlow had a roundtable discussion with OASAS and NYCPG to discuss how to properly allocate the additional $6 million in addiction funding from online sports betting. That $6 million represents less than 1% of state tax revenue from NY online sports betting. NYCPG had called for 3% — or about $20 million — to provide proper resources for problem gamblers.

As NYCPG Executive Director Jim Maney previously told PlayNY: “We’re going to have to deliver services 24/7 now.”

Addabbo agreed, telling PlayNY, “We need to get to a point where we’re offering 24/7 services for problem gambling.”

Continued Addabbo: “We have some work to do. The bottom line is we have somewhat of a blueprint going forward for what would be maybe even next budget.

“We’re on that path to identify the issues that have to be addressed, because you want to stay ahead of the curve as we methodically and safely regulate the expansion of gaming in New York.”

The key: Education and pre-addiction programs, especially as children become exposed to gambling advertising at a younger age.

“The conversation was really fantastic,” Addabbo said. “I give a lot of credit to OASAS and I give a tremendous amount of credit to the NYCPG and this NY Responsible Play Partnership as we work together to benefit individuals going forward.”

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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