Addabbo: March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, so let's address it

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., Chair of the NYS Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, recognizes the importance of providing education and resources for gambling addiction and wants to promote this message so those who need help go out and seek it.

While Addabbo is working to get mobile sports betting legalized in this year’s budget, he is aware of the increase in problem gambling this change may cause in people across the state and has a plan to address the issue.

Addabbo’s proposed legislation (S.17D) on legalizing mobile sports betting includes specific measures written into the bill’s language that directly addresses the prevention of problem gambling and its addiction, among which includes providing a new funding source for problem gaming programs and educational materials, requiring the Gaming Commission to enforce rules on implementing responsible gaming programs and regulations on compulsive play.

“Problem Gambling Awareness Month serves as a reminder that gambling addiction is real and requires effective resources to educate, support and treat individuals,” Addabbo said. “As we continue to push for legalized mobile sports betting, and with March Madness upon us, we want to inform the public about problem gambling and its negative effects. Every year during March Madness there is a spike in both gambling and gambling addiction helpline calls. I will continue my commitment to manage gaming responsibly in New York while also looking to move our state forward by instituting mobile sports betting.”

The Senator also commended the New York State Gaming Commission, which has been acknowledged nationally for its work on the issue of gaming addictions.

For those that need help with problem gaming, the New York State Gaming Commission has a wealth of Responsible Gaming Resources on their website (https://www.ny.gov/programs/responsible-gaming), or they can call 1-877-8HOPE-NY for addiction support and referral services, or they can text HOPENY(467369). 

“While working on gaming matters in our state, we must ensure that people are not negatively affected by gambling addiction and make it a priority that we protect those credible programs in our state that help others with an addiction,” Addabbo added. “There are many resources out there for those who are dealing with problem gambling issues, and I hope that those people take advantage of them and get the help that they need.”