Panel: New York Needs Better RG Measures

A panel at the Racing and Gaming Conference concluded that New York has not been keeping pace with casino expansion by implementing commensurate responsible gaming efforts. John Coppola (l.), one of New York’s leading public health officials, called the state’s efforts “unacceptable.”

Authorities in gaming, media and addiction concluded during a panel last week at the Racing and Gaming Conference in Saratoga, New York that the state of New York is lagging behind in its responsible gaming measures as the industry expands.

Bill Pascrell III, partner with the Princeton Public Affairs Group, said better efforts must be made to spot problem gamblers. “The industry used to treat the gambling-addicted customer as the VIP customer,” he said. “It can’t afford to do that anymore.”

Other panelists pointed out that spending on responsible gaming initiatives is miniscule considering the revenue being made from sports betting. “$5.7 million has been spent on problem gambling in New York,” said John Coppola, executive director of the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers. “That’s less than 1 percent of revenue from sports betting. That’s ridiculously inappropriate and unacceptable.

“We have to start with building an infrastructure and having a meaningful investment. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to get this right. If there’s going to be a shift away from seeing a problem gambler as a good customer, if we’re going to address the needs of that person, it’s going to take a lot of work.”

“We’re balancing the public interest, the need to protect children and those with addictive proclivities,” added David Donovan, president of the New York State Broadcasters Association. “If you look at the last several months, advertising revenue went through the roof. It exploded. The traveling tent show came to New York, and frankly, a lot of my guys made a lot of money. It triggers a response, ‘What about kids?’ Since the initial surge, the demand for advertising has diminished. In particular, it shifted to more sports-formatted radio and television.”