While approving mobile sports betting, state increases funding for “problem gambling”

Local News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – As part of the state budget, mobile sports betting will be coming to New York. The New York State Gaming Commission still has to set up the specifics, but soon placing a sports bet will be as easy as updating your Facebook page.

“The law allows the state to directly operate mobile sports betting,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a budget briefing Wednesday morning.

Once completely phased in, state officials say it will bring in $500 million in revenue for the state annually. The Gaming Commission is expected to now issue a Request for Application, and select at least two platforms and at least four operators.

The governor says the deal calls for $6 million to combat problem gambling, which he says doubles what is currently allocated. But Dr. Dessa Bergen-Cico, a professor of public health and coordinator of addiction studies at Syracuse University, questions whether that is enough.

“For anyone, but particularly young people, I think (mobile sports betting) can be a problem,” she said.

Dr. Bergen-Cico is concerned that legalizing mobile sports betting combines two potentially addictive elements: gambling and cell phones.

“You’re combining two elements,” she said. The ease of the access and the gamification of gambling in this way has the potential particularly for younger people to be very problematic.”

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2017. See more of his work here.

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