Senator Addabbo’s measure would create an 11-member Task Force on Responsible Gaming within the State Gaming Commission.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The State Senate recently approved legislation that would establish a Task Force on Responsible Gaming to combat problem gambling, Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), the bill’s sponsor, announced on Monday.
The measure would create an 11-member legislative panel within the State Gaming Commission, Addabbo said, with some appointees chosen by the Senate and Assembly. Other members would include 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. The Task Force members would be volunteers and 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 among Empire State residents.
“New York’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services has estimated that one million state residents have a gambling problem, including five percent of adults over the age of 18,” said Addabbo, the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering. “In addition, the 2013 National Survey of Problem Gambling Services found that, in 2012, New York ranked second in the nation in combined lottery sales, commercial casino gaming revenues, and Indian gaming revenues. With more facilities for gambling now in the mix, we need to realize that greater wagering opportunities may lead to an upsurge in problem gambling, which can ruin lives in any number of ways.”
Also on Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed Assembly Bill 4111, allowing sports betting at Garden State casinos and racetracks for certain professional and collegiate sports or athletic events.
Under the new law, a licensed casino or racetrack may accept wagers at a sports wagering lounge at its respective premises, and can petition to operate a sports pool at a temporary facility during the construction of a sports wagering lounge. In addition, licensed casinos and racetracks can seek to operate an online sports pool beginning 30 days after the effective date of the bill.
“This is the right move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy,” Murphy said, later noting that the estimated State tax revenues that could be generated from sports betting are projected at approximately $13 million in the first full year of operation.
Murphy’s signature on Monday came less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting, indicating that it is up to individual states to decide if they want to allow wagering on athletic events.
As Albany considers legalizing sports betting, Addabbo said this week that his task force bill “would create a framework to confront” the dark side of gambling.
“While we hope the expansion of wagering activities will ultimately provide an economic boost for the state and areas hosting casinos, we also need to recognize and address the potential for a serious increase in problem gambling in New York,” he added.