Last week the Supreme Court ruled that the federal ban on sports betting
was unconstitutional. Many States including New York are very interested
in now adding sports betting in casinos. While this has not yet happened,
the likelihood is that this will happen in the near future. We are fearful
that this expansion will lead to an increase in the addiction of problem
gambling especially among young people. As we know, there is often a
mental health component to this addiction. There is also a much higher
percentage of those with problem gambling issues who attempt and complete
We must continue to provide more funding for prevention, early
intervention and treatment for those with a gambling addiction.
Our colleagues at the New York Council on Problem Gambling have put out a
statement that is listed below.
May 21, 2018
Contact: James Maney, 518-867-4084
Albany, NY- The New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) has issued
the following statement after the announcement of the Supreme Court’s
opinion on Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association. The US
Supreme Court has declared the federal ban on sports betting to be
unconstitutional. By repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports
Protection Act (PASPA), the Supreme Court opens the door for any state to
legalize sports betting.
What we know to be true, whether it be substance abuse or gambling is that
increased availability leads to increased participation, which leads to the
inevitable increase in problems and addiction.
Legalization of sports betting will be particularly risky for young people
who are not already gambling, and who will see the legality and ease of
access as an invitation to start. As one high school student we met with
last week put it, “Since we are 17/18 (years old), the idea of betting some
money in hopes of winning more money is a new and fun concept.” With
brains that are not fully developed for good judgement and early onset of
risky behaviors, including gambling, we know there is a link to increased
problems later in life. Once again, we are exposing NYS youth to a
potentially dangerous activity.
The New York Council on Problem Gambling recommends a proactive and
comprehensive approach, to address the resultant problems, that includes
prevention, intervention, treatment, research, cross systems and workforce
development, and regulation and enforcement. Further details of the
recommendation are outline below:
Prevention of problem gambling to assure that those who presently gamble
without problems remain problem-free as well as to ensure that non-gamblers
are educated on the risks. Strategies would target vulnerable, high-risk
populations including adolescents, young adults, seniors, ethnic and
Intervention for those with gambling problems and other co-morbid
conditions so that those who gamble with adverse consequences do not
progress to develop further problems, but rather return to problem-free
gambling or no gambling. Interventions include public awareness and
information, community education and professional training, and
information, screening and referral services, including the NYS HOPEline
and website resources.
Treatment for those with gambling problems or their family members,
services that include a continuum of care aimed at recovery. These
include: crisis care, outpatient treatment, residential treatment, after
care and relapse prevention. As online forms of gambling become legalized,
telehealth support and treatment services should be developed and offered
online as well.
Research to investigate the public health consequences of gambling in New
York and to support rigorous ongoing surveillance and evaluation to measure
the impact of expanded gambling and provide valuable information to target
programming to those most affected.
Cross Systems Services and Workforce Development
State agencies who serve consumers at high risk for gambling problems will
be provided with resources and trained by NYS OASAS and NYS Office of the
Professions to incorporate services for preventing, screening, intervening
and treating gambling problems into their service delivery. The Department
of Health, NYS Gaming Commission, Office of Mental Health, Commission on
Higher Education, Office of Victim Services, Division of Parole, Office for
People with Developmental Disabilities, Office for the Prevention of
Domestic Violence, Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives,
Division of State Police, SUNY, and the Division of Veteran’s Affairs need
to be offered these services as well to effectively and responsibly manage
gambling problems in New York.
Regulation and Enforcement
Gambling legislation should include an aggressive regulatory structure that
requires any applicant (existing or new) to assert proactively its plans to
guarantee that it will comply with the highest standards of Responsible
Gambling Programs. These policies and practices should closely follow the
NYS Responsible Play Partnership’s recommendations for *Best Practices for
Problem Gambling Prevention and Intervention.*
Additionally, NYCPG supports the National Council on Problem Gambling’s
Resolution on the Legalization of Sports Gambling which calls upon all
stakeholders in the discussion over legalized sports gambling to recognize
the potential impact on gambling addiction. The resolution offers direct
actions for legislators and regulators, leagues and teams, and the media to
minimize harm because of increased gambling participation.
Download NCPG’s Resolution on the Legalization of Sports Gambling
For further information on the Council’s position please contact Executive
Director, Jim Maney at 518-867-4084.
Glenn Liebman, CEO
Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.