Since the Jan. 8 launch of online sports betting in New York, there has been a far greater call frequency to the Empire State’s problem gambling HOPEline.
In January 2022, there was a 46% increase in problem gambling calls to the NY HOPEline compared with January 2021 (up to 289 from 198), according to a spokesperson from the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).
Of course, NY online sports betting operators have already generated a single-month record $1.6 billion in handle from Jan. 8-30. That has meant $113 million in revenue for the sportsbooks and $57.6 million in taxes for the state.
But there are also negative effects of the online sports betting boom in New York.
NY Council on Problem Gambling urges more funding
The spike in problem gambling-related calls comes as no surprise. Expansion of legal gambling has that effect. But in a statement to PlayNY, OASAS emphasized its availability to help when called upon.
“As sports gambling opportunities continue to expand, OASAS is dedicated to ensuring that resources are in place to help anyone with a gambling problem. We continue to work with our partners in the Gaming Commission, as well as the NY Council on Problem Gambling, to help those affected. In addition, last week we launched a PSA campaign that provides tips to prevent problem gambling, as well as information about where to find help for those who need it.”
Jim Maney, the executive director for the New York Council on Problem Gambling, wrote a letter recently asking for additional funding in order to handle increases in cases due to legal online sports betting launch in NY.
“If New Yorkers are going to lose over a billion dollars a year, we need to invest in preventing Problem Gambling throughout the State,” Maney wrote. “Currently there is 6 million dollars from MSB (Mobile Sports Betting) set aside to address Problem Gambling and we know that is not enough. There needs to be an additional 15 million dollars to address this issue. Twenty-one million dollars is less than 2% of total losses.”
Maney: NY should “invest intelligently and proactively” to prevent problem gambling
In an opinion piece for the New York Daily News, Maney called the $6 million carved out for help “woefully insufficient.” Rather, Maney wrote, “we need to invest intelligently and proactively to prevent problem gambling throughout the state.”
Maney also told PlayNY:
“With the start of Mobile Sports Betting and the proliferation of gambling ads and giveaways, we anticipate the numbers of individuals and families needing help will continue to increase. We need to invest our resources to continue to raise the awareness of Problem Gambling and access services for folks that need them.”
If you, a friend or a family member has a gambling problem, please call the 24/7 HOPEline at 1-877-HOPENY or Text 467369.