New York is preparing to create a Problem Gambling Advisory Council, which the legislature recently approved to help address the issue of gambling addiction in the state.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) and Assembly member Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), unanimously passed before the legislative session ended this month and awaits Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature. Once signed, it will take effect 180 days later.
Since the launch of mobile sports wagering in January, the state has seen more than $8 billion in wagers placed with the eight licensed sportsbook operators. The state gaming commission is in the process of issuing three more casino licenses for the New York City area, and some legislators have signaled their support for broadening sports betting and allowing iGaming in New York.
As for the newly created council, its aim will be to make findings and recommendations to the governor and legislature on how to prevent and treat problem gambling in New York.
“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,” Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee and a co-sponsor of the legislation, said in a press release. “But this legislation demands that we have not forgotten that we must prioritize problem gambling and address it in a timely, proactive manner.”
Programs funded by new casino development
The Problem Gambling Advisory Council will consist of 13 members, including the commissioner of the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASAS), the chair of the state gaming commission, and 11 additional members — including four appointed by the temporary president of the Senate and four appointed by the Assembly Speaker.
New York has a 51% tax on gross gaming revenue for mobile sportsbooks and has taken in $294 million in new taxes since the Jan. 8 launch, with 98% of that going to education and 1% apiece going to sports and problem gambling programs. According to Addabbo’s release, a survey by OASAS found that 5% of adults exhibited problem gambling behaviors within the past year, while 10% of students in grades 7-12 showed signs of problem gambling or required treatment for gambling addiction.
As part of the downstate casino approval process, New York law requires casino operators to deposit $500 annually into the commercial gaming revenue fund for every slot machine or table approved by the commission. Those funds will be used for problem gambling education and treatment.