New York Lights Up The Sky To Fight Problem Gambling

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New York state is shining a light on problem gambling this month by, well, shining a light, among other activities planned by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) and other state agencies involved in battling gambling addiction.

In a joint press release involving the commission, the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), and the New York Council on Problem Gambling, the state said it would hold multiple events to drive attention to the issue as part of the 20th anniversary of Problem Gaming Month. Notable New York landmarks will be lit in yellow during the month of March, among them Albany International Airport, Empire State Plaza, Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal, Grand Central Terminal, and One World Trade Center.

Along with National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) Executive Director Keith Whyte, the coalition of agencies, which falls under the umbrella of the Responsible Play Partnership, have announced a Friday press conference at the Javits Center to discuss the state’s efforts addressing problem gambling.

“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,” NYSGC Executive Director Robert Williams said in the release. “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.”

High volume contributes to gambling issues

New York had a record-setting first calendar year of legal mobile sports betting, with more than $16 billion in bets placed and more than $1.3 billion in gross gaming revenue, with the state’s tax cut coming to nearly $700 million. The state also is deep into the process of licensing three brick-and-mortar casinos in the New York City area, and Sen. Joe Addabbo has introduced a bill in the state Senate to legalize iCasino.

Most of the tax money goes to education, but $6 million per year goes toward problem gambling programs.

“When the legislature works towards safely expanding and regulating gaming in New York, we must make sure that we protect residents from the dangers of excessive gambling,” Addabbo said in a statement. “Aside from creating billions of dollars in revenue and educational funding for the state, along with thousands of local jobs, the priority of identifying those individuals preferably before they have a gambling addiction and providing them with credible successful programs must be at the forefront of what we do legislatively with regards to gaming in New York.”

Other events the partnership has planned for the month include the annual New York Council on Problem Gambling conference on March 8-9, the Cambridge Health Alliance Division on Addiction’s Gambling Disorder Screening Day on March 14, regional listening sessions hosted by OASAS with problem gambling experts, and problem gambling education events at gaming venues across the state.

The partnership, in its 10th year of existence, was formed to bridge the gap between gambling facility operators and problem gambling treatment providers. It also works to ensure all wagering entities in the state comply with problem gambling regulations.

Those seeking help can visit NYProblemGamblingHelp.org or call the state’s confidential HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY.

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