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With mobile sports betting smashing records in New York, problem gambling awareness is crucial: Addabbo

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Since its record-shattering debut in January, with more than 17.2 million transactions in the first two days of operation, mobile sports betting in New York State saw $1.5 billion wagered during the month of February.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who advocated for more than three years to bring mobile sports betting to New York as the chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, is looking to keep those who wish to place their bets safe.

March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and Addabbo is highlighting the importance of identifying and helping those who may suffer from problem gambling.

“By bringing mobile sports betting to New York we are able to allow New Yorkers to safely bet legally in their own state rather than heading to neighboring states or the illegal market,” Addabbo said. “And while a large majority of players are able to regulate their usage and control their betting, there are those who will suffer from problem gambling.”

With the legalization of mobile sports betting, which legislative language included roughly a dozen safeguards and addiction measures, problem gambling programs across the state have a new source of revenue of $6 million each year for problem gaming education and treatment.

“Through legalization, we are able to identify those people, and those who may be moving towards a gambling problem, and provide them with the resources they need to control their gaming,” Addabbo said. “During National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, I want to shed light on the ways we have increased our problem gaming programs in the state and bring awareness to the issue.”

Additionally, brick-and-mortar gaming sites are training their employees to spot the warning signs of problem gaming and how to help patrons with symptoms of gaming addiction. Procedures have been created for all of the mobile sports betting providers that allow customers to exclude themselves from gaming and limit their wagers when the customer raises a flag on their own betting habits.

Sportsbook operators are also required to freeze accounts and send a message to any customer when they have $2,500 in lifetime deposits, as well as provide them with information about problem gaming resources. Sportsbooks must inform customers about assistance for compulsive play while maintaining easy-to-find gaming assistance resources.

“I am thrilled with how popular mobile sports betting has become in New York in just a few short months,” Addabbo said. “While millions will be made available for education, now is the time where we need to monitor the process and make adjustments in all aspects of mobile sports wagering, including the problem gaming side. Whenever you introduce something new like this there will be those that either develop problem gaming issues or expand those problems. It is now our job to make sure that those individuals get the help they need.”

Addabbo and his legislative team have been in contact with the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham in an effort to address and monitor problem gambling issues. If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling call the free, confidential NYS HOPELINE at 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369)for help, and referrals for treatment.

“We cannot move forward with gaming in New York without addressing the addiction side at the same time,” Addabbo said. “I want to see gaming flourish even further in our state, this increasing educational funding, revenue and jobs, but we must have safeguards and help in place for those who have a problem. I look forward to working with those in the gaming addiction field to provide New Yorkers with the best help and resources.”

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