New York passes legislation to establish Problem Gambling Advisory Council

The council will have responsibilities for problem gambling resources and services in New York.
The council will have responsibilities for problem gambling resources and services in New York.

The bill to create the Problem Gambling Advisory Council is awaiting the signature of governor Kathy Hochul.

US.- The state of New York has passed legislation to establish a Problem Gambling Advisory Council (PGAC). Bill S.409A/A.658A was sponsored by state senators Alessandra Biaggi and Joseph P. Addabbo Jr and Assembly member Linda Rosenthal. It has passed the Assembly and Senate and now awaits governor Kathy Hochul’s signature to enter law.

The Problem Gambling Advisory Council would seek to identify issues affecting those suffering from a problem gambling disorder and recommend ways to make prevention and treatment more accessible. Its creation would come at an important time for New York gaming, following the launch of legal mobile sports betting at the start of the year and with new downstate casinos on the horizon

Addabbo said: “As co-sponsor of this bill and chair to the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, I am pleased that we are fulfilling a promise to provide additional resources and raise public awareness for problem gambling in our state.

“The legalization of mobile sports betting brought higher than forecasted educational funds and revenue to our state, and the recent approval of downstate casino licenses will create jobs and additional resources, but this legislation demonstrates that we have not forgotten that we must prioritize problem gambling and address it in a timely, proactive manner.”

The sponsors of the bill shared a survey conducted by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) that found that five per cent of adults exhibited problem gambling behaviors in the past year. Meanwhile, 10 per cent of 7th through 12th grade students showed signs of problem gambling or required treatment. 

As part of legislation to allow new casino developments in New York, the legislature required casinos to deposit $500 annually into the Commercial Gaming Revenue Fund for every slot machine or table approved. These funds are required to be used exclusively for problem gambling education and treatment.

The Problem Gambling Advisory Council will make findings and recommendations to the governor and legislature on how to prevent and treat problem gambling in New York. It will consist of 13 members including the commissioner of OASAS, the chair of the Gaming Commission, and eleven additional members:    

  • Four members appointed by the Temporary President of the Senate, 
  • Four members appointed by the Assembly Speaker, 
  • One member appointed by the Senate Minority Leader, 
  • One member appointed by the Assembly Minority Leader, 
  • One member appointed by the governor.

The temporary president of the Senate and the assembly speaker must appoint at least two representatives of community-based behavioral health services providers. The council will be able to meet as often as necessary, but no less than two times per year. It will develop and recommend strategies to ensure availability and access to problem gambling programs and resources, including information and resources regarding the prevention of problem gambling, for individuals throughout the state. 

It will examine the impact of mobile sports betting on problem gambling services, including whether there was an increase in the number of calls placed to the problem gambling HOPEline or outreach to local problem gambling resource centers, the need for additional staffing, or whether there was an increase in the number of individuals placing themselves on the list of self-excluded persons at gaming facilities. 

Finally, the council will develop an annual report due by October 1containing its findings and recommendations concerning problem gambling.

See also: New York sports betting operators ask for review of tax rate

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