New York is one step away from establishing the Problem Gambling Advisory Council (PGAC) after the bill sponsored by State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and Assembly member Linda Rosenthal successfully cleared the Assembly and Senate and landed on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk to be signed into law.
S409A/A658A which calls on the state to establish PGAC successfully passed through the 63-member State Senate earlier this month. The measure was passed shortly after the approval for three new downstate casinos to be licensed next year in response to public fears that the casino expansion would lead to more people impacted by problem gambling.
The bill amends the state’s mental hygiene law by adding a section dedicated to the PGAC which is created with the purpose “to make findings and recommendations to the Governor on how to prevent and treat problem gambling” in the state.
Commenting on the new legislative measure, the Chair of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee and bill co-sponsor Sen. Addabbo outlined the importance of properly and timely addressing problem gambling in the light of the recent launch of mobile sports betting in the state and the upcoming casino expansion.
Pleased to have fulfilled the “promise to provide additional resources and raise public awareness” around the issue of problem gambling, Sen. Addabbo outlined that passing the bill was a sign that the state has prioritized problem gambling and will “address it in a timely, proactive manner.”
Composition and Functions
Composed of 13 members among which the Commissioner of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports and the Chair of the State’s Gaming Commission, the PGAC will meet no less than two times per year and its meeting will be subject to the open meetings law. Its members will have a four-year term and will continue to serve until a successor is appointed.
The other eleven members will be appointed as follows: four by the temporary President of the Senate, another four by the Speaker of the Assembly, one each by the minority leaders of the Senate and Assembly, and one by the Governor. Two of the appointed members from the quotas of the temporary President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly should be “representatives of behavioral health services providers.”
The PGAC will have to develop and recommend strategies aimed at ensuring the availability of problem gambling resources throughout the state, including information regarding problem gambling prevention.
The Council will seek advice from individuals and organizations with experience in the field of problem gambling to determine the availability, location and need for problem gambling services, besides creating strategies to raise public awareness of the issue and the availability of problem gambling resources.
The PGAC will also provide recommendations related to the allocation of fees collected from licensed gambling operators that are distributed under the State Finance Law, evaluate the impact of mobile sports betting on problem gambling services and whether they would need additional staffing, as well as examine tendencies in the number of self-excluded persons.
Once a year no later than October, the PGAC will submit a report to the Governor and the legislature with its findings and recommendations on problem gambling, including programs, resources and services.