New York State Senator to Host Problem Gambling Talk

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The Senator behind the recent — and most likely failed push to legalize online casinos in New York– has set up an open online meeting to discuss gambling addiction and responsible gambling awareness.

Joseph Addabbo (D-15) will be hosting the meeting via Zoom on March 12 at 6 p.m. EST. The event is planned in collaboration with Resorts World New York City Casino and the National Council on Problem Gambling.

The Senator hosted similar meetings in late 2023. Attendees can choose to ask questions and participate, or remain completely anonymous.

This year, Addabbo will be joined by esteemed British addiction expert Professor David Nutt. The Director of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London has consulted various global governments, including the UK, on addiction issues that include drugs, social media, and betting.

“For some, gaming is a casual pastime. But for others, it becomes all-consuming, and they need help,” Addabbo said in a press release.

“As the Chairman of the NYS Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, I believe I have a responsibility to bring this event to the community for the public good and will always consider the issue of problem gambling a high priority when safely expanding gaming in New York.”

Topics of Discussion

During the interactive talk, Addabbo will discuss the latest research on gambling addiction, problem habits, and the newest ways to help keep gambling responsible.

He will discuss how New York sports betting and casino operators screen problem gambling patterns before they develop, and educate attendees on what tools are available to help keep behaviors under complete control.

“If we can help individuals from taking this preventable trip down the road to self-destruction, especially through early detection, then we have accomplished something important,” Addabbo said.

Despite this work with Resorts World NYC, as well as previous initiatives, that didn’t stop last month’s open letter from 700 union employees at the New York casino opposing Addabbo’s bill to legalize online casinos in the state.

The bill was not given any attention in New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2024 budget address earlier in February, and the suggestion is Addabbo’s bid for New York online casinos is done and dusted for this year.

Renowned Nutt

Joining the Senator in the Zoom meeting will be Professor David Nutt.

The brain sciences expert will explain what happens to gamblers when they place a bet, demonstrated via brain scans of bettors taken before and after placing a wager.

Among a myriad of interesting pursuits throughout his career, Professor Nutt has spoken about a multitude of addiction-related issues.

In 2009, the UK government commissioned him to chair the advisory committee on the country’s drug policy.

He published his recommendations, which included saying that MDMA and cannabis are less dangerous than alcohol. He was promptly fired.

The Professor also developed a synthetic herbal-derived concoction that he says has similar social effects to alcohol without the hangovers or the adverse health effects.

While it is unlikely any of that will come up in the session with Senator Addabbo, stranger things have happened.

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to share our research on the brain mechanisms underpinning gambling addiction, as they will help explain why it is so hard to break its grip and hopefully lead to new treatments,” Professor Nutt said.

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