On 12 March

New York Senator Addabbo to host virtual discussion for Problem Gambling Awareness month

New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr
Reading time 2:28 min

In observance of March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month and March 12th as Gambling Disorder Screening Day, New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. will be hosting a virtual discussion via Zoom on March 12. The event aims to educate the public on problem gambling, provide information on available support services, and foster connections with organizations that can help.

The discreet meeting will allow participants to remain anonymous and will be presented in collaboration with the New York Council on Problem Gambling and Resorts World NYC Casino, with support from the National Council on Problem Gambling.

The primary goal of the discussion is to promote a better understanding of gambling addiction as a medical issue that requires examination as a disease, emphasizing the importance of education and support in addressing this issue, according to a release.

The event follows the commemoration of the second anniversary of legal mobile sports betting in New York State, on January 8, 2024. Through January 7, the total mobile sports wagering handle reached $35.7 billion and generated a total net revenue to education of $1.57 billion.

Despite the positive revenue impact, Senator Addabbo, who is Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, says he remains "mindful" of the unintended consequences associated with gambling and in a statement added he is committed to addressing these issues.

While the initial mobile sports betting statute included an additional $6 million annually for problem gambling programs, Addabbo recently introduced legislation (S.8439) to increase the related program funding to the greater of 1% of the tax revenue or the $6 million.

“For some, gaming is a casual pastime, but for others it becomes all-consuming, and they need help,” Addabbo said. “As the Chairman of the NYS Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, I believe I have a responsibility to bring this event to the community for the public good and will always consider the issue of problem gambling a high priority when safely expanding gaming in New York."

"If we can help individuals from taking this preventable trip down the road to self-destruction, especially through early detection, then we have accomplished something important.”

New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr

The discussion will feature guest speaker Prof. David Nutt, Director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Division of Brain Sciences at the Imperial College of London and a leading expert on addiction, who will display brain scans that show illuminations of certain parts of the brain before, during, and after placing a bet.

He showed this experiment on a news program of the BBC demonstrating by using an individual in an MRI machine whose brain function was monitored while playing a virtual version of roulette, a press release notes.

I am delighted to have this opportunity to share our research on the brain mechanisms underpinning gambling addiction as they will help explain why it is so hard to break its grip and hopefully lead to new treatments,” Professor Nutt said. 

2 million adults in the U.S. meet severe gambling criteria each year, according to the National Council on Problem Gaming, and another 4 to 6 million American adults have mild or moderate problems. 4.3% of adult residents in New York State are experiencing problems related to their gambling activity (over 600,000 adults), according to the NYCPG.

Other topics of discussion at the event will be voluntary self-exclusion, signs of addiction, screening for gambling disorder, S.E.E. It – Support Educate and Engage to Reduce Gambling Harm, which is the NYCPG’s theme this year, and “Every Story Matters,” which is the National Council on Problem Gambling’s theme this year, with recovering addicts sharing their stories of hope.

The meeting link can be found on the New York Senate website.

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