Compulsive Gambling Programs Prepare Sports Betting | Local news

ALBANY – With the state looking to generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year in new revenue from mobile sports betting, search experts predict that New York will soon need large investments in advisory services to help problem gamblers.

“Every time you improve access to gambling, the chances of problems increase,” said Brandy Richards, team leader at the Northeast Problem Gambling Resource Center, a program run by the State Council on Problem Gambling.

State regulators have authorized four sports betting companies to accept online bets from New Yorkers on sports competitions this weekend. The companies are competing for market share from the start and doing a flash of advertising on social media platforms and elsewhere to attract new accounts that are expected to bring them nice profits and substantial revenue for the state government.

Projections suggest the state will make far more money from mobile sports betting than legalized marijuana after the first cannabis stores open sometime in 2023.

A year ago, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York has the potential to become the world’s largest market for mobile sports betting. Proponents of sports betting legalization argue that many New Yorkers have already participated in the activity, moving to New Jersey and other states that allow it, or opening betting accounts with offshore companies. And while unregulated bookmakers are illegal under state law, bookmakers continue to do business in disregard of the law.

But for the community of treatment providers, said addiction expert John Coppola, mobile sports bets pose new challenges as they offer lure and stimulation similar to video games while allowing betting in private settings.

“Gambling addiction is a debilitating condition, and people can lose anything, not just their money – everything, sometimes their lives, when people are desperate,” said Coppola, director of the New York State Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers.

One of the concerns is that mobile sports betting offers an endless variety of betting options around the clock – seven days a week, Richards pointed out.

Research shows that roughly half of those treated for gambling problems in New Jersey are enthusiastic about sports betting.

Since sports betting was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2018, calls to a problem gambling hotline have increased 285%, Richards said. Their resource center is part of a network of several such regional satellites funded by the State Office for Addiction Services and Support.

New York’s gambling advisory programs are expected to receive $ 6 million in government funding in 2022. But the Council on Problem Gambling, citing the emergence of mobile sports betting in the state, suggests up to $ 20 million may be needed.

The council also advocates the creation of a new state problem games department. It is also suggested that 3 percent of income from sports games should be used for treatment and counseling.

State lawmakers, who oversee legislative committees that fund and oversee addiction treatment and recovery services, told CNHI they will be closely monitoring the impact of mobile sports betting on New Yorkers.

New York could benefit from being immersed in sports betting after numerous other states approved the activity, suggested Senator Pete Harckham, D-Westchester County.

“We need to watch this on our committee,” said Harckham, chairman of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

His lower chamber counterpart, Rep. Phil Steck, D-Colonie, said the potential for an increase in the number of people in need of counseling for gambling addiction was “a significant problem”.

“Gambling has always been a tax for the poor and the middle class,” said Steck. “So I think we have to deal with all of the problems we see in sports betting.”

The companies licensed by the state for sports betting platforms offer some information to people who fear they will develop a gambling problem.

FanDuel, for example, provides the National Council on Problem Gambling with a toll-free number and the web address for Gamblers Anonymous on its website.

“FanDuel wants you to enjoy your legal online gaming responsibly and sensibly,” explains FanDuel on its website, which also provides some contact information for advisory programs in various states.

Gambling addiction has been described as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association since 1980.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a gambling disorder include:

• Engage in gambling, e.g. B. constantly planning how to get more gambling money

• You need to play with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill

• Trying to control, restrict or stop gambling without success

• Restlessness or irritability when trying to limit gambling.

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