ALBANY, NY – As we approach the end of the first year of mobile sports betting in New York State, three statewide associations are teaming up with the New York Council on Problem Gambling to address youth problem gambling prevention. The two-year project, being spearheaded by the Council, will result in efforts that ultimately bring further awareness to the topic of problem gambling, and the potential impact of youth involvement. The partnership efforts, that will directly reach more than 300,000 New Yorkers, aims to increase each participating organization’s ability to address this important issue throughout their system. The project will both seek to understand the attitudes and beliefs of each association’s staff, partners, and membership, as well as pave the way for next steps in awareness raising.
Comprehensive readiness assessments conducted throughout NYS indicate that while stakeholders and community leaders across NYS are concerned about youth gambling, they are not prepared to act. Discussions across local communities have indicated an overall general low-level of support for youth gambling prevention activities and efforts, paired with a low level of readiness to act. Additionally, those who are ready to conduct activities to prevent youth gambling often lack the knowledge, resources and support to do so.
According to the most recent survey results, nearly 40 percent of NYS youth in grades 7-12 have gambled in the last year. The issue of youth gambling is not a standalone condition. NYS specific data has indicated that past 30-day use of alcohol, being drunk, use of marijuana, and consumption of energy drinks is higher among youth who gamble than youth who do not gamble. Additionally, among youth who report gambling in NYS, more than 30 percent began gambling before the age of 10 (NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports, 2014). Such an early age of onset increases the likelihood of long-term consequences such as addiction to gambling and substances, mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and attempts (Wynne, et. Al., 1996; Hardoon, et. Al., 2002; Gupta & Derevensky, 1998; Potenza, et. Al., 2002).
Council Prevention Manager Stelianos Canallatos said, “the effects of youth gambling are far reaching. With the recent legalization of mobile sports betting in NYS, as well as the increased concern for blurring lines between video gaming and gambling, it is imperative that we are proactive in supporting youth to make healthy decisions surrounding risky behaviors such as gambling, and in creating safe environments where youth can thrive. We are excited for this opportunity to be proactive in building capacity to support youth gambling prevention.”
“NYS PTA is thrilled to partner with the New York Council of Problem Gambling, and our other stakeholders, to support youth gambling prevention,” offered NYS PTA Executive Director Kyle Belokopitsky. “Youth gambling continues to be an expanding issue and crisis facing our youth, families, communities, and schools. We know the correlation between youth gambling and risky behaviors like substance use, and increases of health and wellness issues like youth depression and anxiety. NYS PTA stands ready to work to see that each family, youth, educator, and community member has the tools, awareness, and resources to combat youth gambling, as together we will Shine a Light on Every Child with One Voice.”
Garry Anthony Johnson, State Chair, Economic Development, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) NY State Conference, said: “We need to understand both the varied influences to our youth regarding gambling and the tools required to address the issue before it becomes a greater problem. The NAACP is committed to ensuring that our youth reach their potential without further unnecessary obstructions which would hinder their social, educational, and economic opportunities.“
Ashton Daley, Youth Recovery Program Coordinator for Youth Voices Matter-New York said: “We at Youth Voices Matter-NY are so excited to work in collaboration with other amazing organizations towards supporting youth and young adults. Taking the time to cultivate an environment that empowers young people to participate in their welfare is essential to their wellness and the success of their future.“
The New York Council of Problem Gambling is a not-for-profit independent corporation dedicated to increasing public awareness about problem and disordered gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by problem gambling. NYCPG maintains a neutral stance on gambling and is governed by a Board of Directors. To learn more about the NYCPG, please visit https://nyproblemgambling.org/.