Recovered problem gambler, Carl Dellefav, discusses the potential dangers of mobile sports betting in New York should the activity be legalized.
Is Problem Gambling a Risk to New York’s Mobile Betting Legalization?
Now that New York is closer than ever to legalizing mobile sports betting, and possibly on terms that benefit independent stakeholders, a new concern has surfaced. As is the case with regulatory pushes, qualms about gambling addiction have been brought up.
The Rochester First outlet has reached out to Carl Dellefav, a successfully recovered gambling addict, who shared his story on how gambling nearly devastated him financially. Back in December 2009, Dellefav walked out of the Turning Stone Casino with just $8 to his name, he explained for the media.
“I had maxed out all my lines of credit, I didn’t have anywhere else to turn to financially. I was spiritually bankrupt, I was emotionally disturbed, and I had hit my rock bottom,” continued. His story is one shared by an estimated 10 million Americans who suffer from gambling addiction.
The rapid expansion of the activity and especially the now proposed push for regulating mobile gambling in one of the biggest states in the country have naturally raised some worries.
Dellefav doesn’t seem to be objecting to the institution of gambling as such, but rather the potential negatives that may stem out from it.
He did say that he had an issue with the “instantaneous nature of mobile sports betting,” and made a popular argument that having mobile betting options readily available would make the activity more tempting to vulnerable individuals.
Don’t Forget the Offshore Sportsbooks
The budget plan is pushing ahead in the hopes to allow the Empire State to recover after the biggest economic and health crisis it has faced in the past 70 years. Dellefav was reasonable in his objection to mobile gambling, arguing that not everyone is going to turn into a compulsive gambler but a good number of the people who try the product might.
However, New York is not oblivious of the potential dangers that are associated with gambling. As a counter-argument, many industry stakeholders point out that while making mobile betting more readily available in New York may seem dangerous to consumers, the counter-argument fails to factor in that many sports fans are already turning to offshore sports betting websites to find gambling relief.
Not only that, but offshore sportsbooks have no obligation or intention to protect consumers on the same level as licensed businesses which are under a lot more regulatory scrutiny. Reaching out to Finger Lakes Problem Gambling Resource Center, team leader Jenna Hotaling explained that the organization maintained a neutral stance on gambling but was all for highlighting the potential downsides and dangers associated with the activity.
Dellefav’s objection on principle aside, he urged people to be honest with themselves, admit when they have a problem, and seek help. “Really look at what you’re doing and why you’re doing it,” he urged.
Meanwhile, the Oneida Nation is not too keen on seeing New York legalize mobile sports betting any time soon, wary that this may turn in a net loss for the tribe’s own sports betting operations.