This March is the 20th anniversary of National Problem Gambling Awareness Month and to celebrate, a handful of New York-based groups are lighting up buildings yellow and hosting events to bring awareness to the issue.
New York State’s Responsible Play Partnership (RPP) — including the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) — are the driving forces behind each event.
“Thanks to the efforts of NCPG and the work of the Responsible Play Partnership, we are bringing attention to this crucial issue, and promoting a safe, responsible gaming environment,” said Robert Williams, executive director of the NYSGC.
“As gaming opportunities in New York state continue to expand, all New Yorkers should be aware of the myriad avenues to support for those who need help.”
Importance of NY responsible gaming more prevalent than ever
Access to licensed NY sportsbooks and casinos is more available now than ever before. Because of this, it’s a critical time to promote safe and responsible betting habits.
Sen. Joe Addabbo is a strong advocate for responsible gambling in New York. Here’s what Addabbo told PlayNY in a press release:
“It is crucial that as we seek to legally and credibly expand gaming in New York, that we also grow our problem gaming resources. When mobile sports betting went live last year, we ensured that operators had safeguards included in their apps like the freezing of accounts when a user hit $2,500 in lifetime deposits, and made advertising efforts to include problem gaming messaging and the HOPEline number.”
“But our work wasn’t over. In addition to these regulations, new rules were recently approved by the NYS Gaming Commission that better regulate gambling advertising so it does not target younger residents, and providing an opt out option so you do not see these ads.”
Addabbo, who referenced new regulations adopted by the NYSGC, also spoke about the importance of viewing problem gambling as a mental health issue, not just an addiction. He believes doing so will help find new ways to treat those who have been impacted.
Shining a light on problem gambling
The RPP and buildings across New York will be shining a light on problem gambling throughout March. Literally.
The color associated with problem gambling awareness is yellow. So notable landmarks and gaming facilities throughout the state will light up their properties in that color yellow to support the cause. The facilities involved with this movement include:
- Albany International Airport Gateway
- Empire State Plaza
- Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
- Grand Central Terminal
- Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex
- One World Trade Center
- Peace Bridge
- Penn Station’s east end gateway
- State Fairgrounds main gate and expo center
Problem gambling awareness events throughout New York
There are also multiple events scheduled throughout the month of March to continue spreading the word about problem gambling. One took place today at the Javits Center where NCPG executive director Keith Whyte explained treatment and services offered across the Empire State.
There will also be a screening day on March 14 to help identify individuals that may be suffering from problem gambling. That event will be hosted by the Cambridge Health Alliance Division on Addiction.
Later in the month, there will be regional listening sessions conducted by the OASAS with leaders in the problem gambling treatment community to inform about the agency’s operating plan.
The RPP will also hold problem gambling education events at gambling venues across the state. These will highlight the safety measures currently available to promote responsible gaming.