Online casinos in the state of New York seem to be a matter of when, not if. But a major factor in its legalization is about ensuring bettors can practice responsible gambling.
With 2022 nearly over, the last year has shown no tangible progress toward iGaming becoming legal. There were some bills addressing the matter in the first quarter of the year, but they didn’t gain any traction.
But Assemb. Gary Pretlow believes “the real push” is coming in 2023. Sen. Joe Addabbo echoed a similar sentiment when he said authorizing NY online casinos would be his number one priority for the coming state budget.
There are a lot of moving parts that need to be sorted out before online casino gaming is accessible in the Empire State. One that is often forgotten but is arguably the biggest factor in iGaming legislation being passed is limiting gambling addiction.
But denying pro-iGaming bills only pushes the action to other states, or forces New Yorkers to use illegal offshore casinos. If online casino gaming was legalized, a portion of the resulting revenue could be used to increase responsible gaming efforts.
NY Senator is pushing for online casinos
In a recent interview, Addabbo told PlayNY that enforcing responsible gaming is the biggest hurdle in legalizing iGaming in New York. Addabbo chairs the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.
Earlier this year, Addabbo proposed a bill during a New York State legislative session that would allocate an additional $11 million of funding to combat gambling addiction. He believes the additional tax revenue that could come from online casinos is worth the fight to legalize it. Addabbo told PlayNY:
“What state wouldn’t want more revenue and more educational funding — especially when they see some of that iGaming money leaving New York is either going to another state or doing it illegally? So you want to secure that, regulate it and make it safer. That’s my point of view.”
Addabbo’s proposal estimated the state would receive $475 million in annual tax revenue and $150 million in one-time licensing fees from gaming operators. If some of that money was used to promote responsible gaming, it could bolster New York’s efforts to prevent gambling addiction.
What is responsible gaming?
Have you ever visited a mobile New York sportsbook app and seen a logo that says ‘RG’? That stands for responsible gaming, and it’s a sign you’re on an authorized sportsbook rather than an offshore site.
Responsible gaming is defined as betting in a safe manner. Some practice associated with responsible gaming are:
- Taking breaks from betting
- Not relying on wagering as an income source
- Setting limits for yourself
- Betting money you can afford to lose
New York already has multiple organizations tasked with overseeing responsible gaming efforts across the state. These group include the NYS Gaming Commission, the Office of Addiction Services and Support and the NY Council on Problem Gaming.
The state also has the NY HOPEline, a service available 24/7 to field calls and texts from those seeking help from gambling addiction.
Additional revenue from iGaming could allow those organizations to hire more representatives to help those in need of treatment. It could also improve the programs currently in place that help individuals who struggle practicing responsible gaming.
Addabbo told PlayNY:
“I do believe, with iGaming, probably our biggest challenge — bigger than the downstate licenses, bigger than mobile sports betting — is the challenge of addiction with iGaming. I think it’s trickier, and therefore we’ll look to do more funds and more in-tune with OASAS on how we address addiction even further.”