March Is Gambling Awareness Month

New York’s Responsible Play Partnership — consisting of the New York State Gaming Commission, the New York State Office on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services and the New York Council on Problem Gambling — is undertaking a series of initiatives in recognition of National Problem Gambling Awareness Month in March.

The state Gaming Commission, which in 2017 launched what has been called “the broadest voluntary self-exclusion (VSE) program in the nation” by the National Council on Problem Gambling, recently completed the last in a series of training sessions for lottery, video lottery and commercial casino employees involved in the voluntary self-exclusion intake process. The Responsible Play Partnership introduced its statewide voluntary self-exclusion database in February 2017 to allow individuals who self-identify as needing help in their battle with problem gambling to ban themselves from all forms of gambling licensed by the Gaming Commission. To date, more than 1,000 individuals from New York and elsewhere have opted to take advantage of the break in gambling activity the program affords them.

The commission will host a presentation featuring Dr. Amanda McCormick who serves as interim director of British Columbia’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, associate professor at the University of the Fraser Valley, and research associate with the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research. Dr. McCormick will share results of her research on the British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s voluntary self-exclusion program from the perspective of program participants.

“The Responsible Play Partnership remains true to its mission of educating New Yorkers on the issue of problem gambling and the availability of prevention and treatment resources close to home,” said Ronald Ochrym, state Gaming Commission acting executive director. “We are pleased to be able to bring the important messages of National Problem Gambling Awareness Month to all our licensed properties — large and small.”

New York State’s specific plans for National Problem Gambling Awareness Month include the following:

¯ The commission is finalizing plans to extend the state’s self-exclusion program to include traditional lottery and the lottery subscription program.

¯ Representatives will continue their review of the original Problem Gambling/Responsible Gaming (PG/RG) plans submitted by commercial casino operators to help these properties meet their goals and expand their PG/RG programs.

¯ Messaging and signs promoting National Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the HOPELINE will be displayed at all licensed gaming facilities, including 17,000 Lottery retailers across the state.

¯ Responsible Play Partnership members will coordinate a focused social media campaign to promote awareness of problem gambling.

¯ The partnership will continue to work with gaming operators, players, and the problem gambling prevention and treatment communities beyond March, educating the public about the warning signs of problem gambling and raising awareness about the help that is available close to home.