Photo Courtesy of Sen. Addabbo’s Office
“We need to realize that greater opportunities to gamble may lead to increased incidences of problem gambling, which can ruin lives in any number of ways,” Addabbo said.
By Forum Staff
A bill sponsored by State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) that would create a Task Force on Responsible Gaming within the State Gaming Commission is now under review by the Senate Committee on Finance after members of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee recently approved the measure.
According to Addabbo, the 11-member legislative panel would feature some appointees chosen by the Senate and Assembly. Other appointees would be the leaders – or their designees – of the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the Gaming Commission, the Division of the Lottery, and the Division of Horse Racing and Pari-mutuel Wagering. Members of the task force members, who would serve without compensation, would need to have expertise in problem-gambling treatment and prevention, as well as insights into problem-gambling programs administered by gaming facilities. The group would make recommendations to the Legislature and governor regarding the best strategies to address gaming disorders.
“When New Yorkers voted four years ago to permit non-tribal casino gambling in the state, it allowed for the construction of up to seven new gaming facilities. Four sites have been selected so far, and the casinos are already up and running or in various stages of completion in upstate Schenectady, Sullivan, Tioga and Seneca counties,” said Addabbo, the ranking member on the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. “While we expect our casinos to provide an economic boost for our state, we also need to consider strategies to head off a potentially devastating upsurge in problem gambling. My legislation would create a framework for this effort.”
Addabbo noted that Resorts World Casino New York City at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park has had a positive impact in terms of job creation, community involvement and revenues raised to support public education in New York, and that the facility has taken a number of positive outreach steps to promote responsible gaming.
“I will always continue to be supportive of Resorts World as an asset in our area,” Addabbo added. “But on the larger scale, we can’t close our eyes to the needs of individuals and families who are being negatively affected by uncontrollable urges to roll the dice or take on the one-armed bandit.”
The senator noted that the Assembly companion bill to his legislation is currently under consideration the lower chamber’s Ways and Means Committee.
Addabbo also cited borough organizations that help individuals address gambling issues, including the Queens Center for Excellence, which is affiliated with the State Council on Problem Gambling. For more information, visit queenscfe.org or call (347) 551-2913.