Trio of gambling bills gain approval in NY Senate committee

New York Gambling
Image: Luciano Mortula - LGM / Shutterstock

Lawmakers in New York are taking steps to improve problem gambling treatment.

A trio of measures in the Empire State are being considered in the Senate as pieces of legislation that provide additional funding for problem gaming treatment while ensuring safe and fair practices for marketing and use by qualified patrons.

Earlier this week, the three bills were approved by New York’s Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.

The progression of the bills comes during Problem Gambling Awareness Month.

Senate Bill 1550, introduced by Sen. Leroy Comrie, is being considered in the Senate as a measure that ensures safe marketing practices. The bill requires all gambling and sports betting ads to “include warnings about potential harmful and addictive effects of gambling.” SB 1550, which is also backed by Sens. Liz Krueger and Luis R. Sepúlveda, also mandates that the state’s Gaming Commission work with the commissioner of addictive services and a problem gambling hotline number be included in all marketing for gaming.

Gambling age requirement

The second measure, Senate Bill 1557, prevents unauthorized patrons from gambling. SB 1557 is sponsored by Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo and calls for wagering to be prohibited for individuals under the age of 21. The age requirement also includes parimutuel wagering.

SB 1557 was approved by the committee but faced opposition due to questions regarding its application to bingo and the ability for individuals 18 and older to make key decisions.

“There are a whole bunch of responsibilities we give to people who are 18, 19, and 20,” Sen. James Tedisco told committee members. “You can marry, you can die for your country, as I mentioned. You can vote. If someone can put their life on the line for the greatest nation in the world and all these other responsibilities, I can’t bring myself to vote for this right now.”

SB 1557’s current framework does not apply to bingo as confirmed by Addabbo. However, future iterations of gaming measures will include language regarding valid ages for bingo.

New York can leverage tax revenue

Finally, Senate Bill 8439 is a committee-approved measure that can help fund problem gambling initiatives. The bill, which is also sponsored by Addabbo, calls for 1% of tax revenue from sports betting to be allocated toward problem gambling treatment. Under SB 8439, the amount given to problem gambling shall be no less than $6 million after its first full year of implementation. It also requires a portion of revenue to go into the state’s general fund.

If signed into law, SB 8439 is poised to benefit problem gambling treatment as New York has generated more than $1.5 billion in tax revenue from online sports betting since 2022.

The revenue is poured into youth sports programming, problem gambling and education.