New York Lawmakers Propose Problem Gambling Advisory Council

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New York doesn’t have a Problem Gambling Advisory Council (PGAC). So today, three members of the New York State Assembly sponsored a bill that would create one.

This is the ninth year New York lawmakers have proposed a PGAC, with Gov. Kathy C. Hochul vetoing the most recent bill on Nov. 23, 2022. Her criticism of that proposal and 38 others was the cost.

Assembly members Linda B. Rosenthal, Al Stirpe, and Jonathan G. Jacobson introduced A1056, which would amend the mental hygiene law to create the PGAC if it becomes a reality. Today, the bill sits in the New York State Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

The measure directs the PGAC to “make findings and recommendations” to Hochul and the New York State Legislature “on how to prevent and treat problem gambling.”

The 2-page bill sponsored by Rosenthal, D-Manhattan; Stirpe, D-Cicero; and Jacobson, D-Newburgh doesn’t outline how to fund the proposed PGAC.

Problem Gambling Advisory Council Roadmap

The bill outlines a PGAC with 13 members serving four-year terms:

  • Chinazo Cunningham, commissioner of the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS)
  • Brian O’Dwyer, chairman of the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC)
  • One Hochul-appointed member
  • Five members chosen by each branch of the legislature, including four who must be “representatives of community-based behavioral health services providers.”

The proposed problem gambling legislation also says these appointed PGAC members can “designate in writing a representative to attend meetings in his or her place and to vote or otherwise act on his or her behalf in his or her absence.” These unpaid council members would need to hold at least two public meetings a year.

Problem Gambling Advisory Council Duties

This unpaid PGAC would then be tasked with strategizing how to educate New York residents about problem gambling, “ensure availability and access to problem gambling programs and resources” for New Yorkers, and figure out how to fund all of it.

If that isn’t difficult enough, A1056 also directs the proposed Problem Gambling Advisory Board to complete two more duties:

• examine the impact of mobile sports betting on problem gambling services, including but not limited to, any increase in the number of calls placed to the problem gambling Hopeline or outreach to local problem gambling resource centers and any need for additional staffing, and any increase in the number of individuals placing themselves on the list of self-excluded persons at gaming facilities; and

• develop an annual report to be provided to the governor and legislature containing its findings and recommendations with regard to problem gambling, including programs, resources, and services throughout the state. The annual report shall be due no later than October first of each year, with the first report provided no later than the first of October next succeeding the effective date of this section.

While the New York bill may need more work before it heads to an Assembly vote, the Empire State lawmakers are far from the only legislators interested in adding problem gambling resources.

The Virginia General Assembly may soon consider proposed legislation creating a Problem Gambling Advisory Committee (PGAC).

About the Author
Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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