The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Chairman of the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which has jurisdiction over compulsive gambling issues, has voiced his concern, in an address before the Assembly, that increased casino gambling opportunities in New York State will lead to a serious rise in problem gambling.  Earlier this week the Assembly passed a concurrent resolution to put an amendment before voters in November authorizing as many as seven full-service casinos, at locations yet to be determined, throughout the State.

(Don’t forget to take Sheepshead Bites’ poll: Do you think New York should legalize gambling?)

“These new casinos have the potential to bring in millions of dollars for New York State, but it must not come at the cost of adding additional gamblers to the ranks of the problem gambling population.  Once the additional roulette wheels are spinning and the craps tables are functioning it will be too late to take preventive action.  Now is the time to plan on having the necessary programs in place to prevent problem gambling and provide treatment for those who have a gambling problem,” Cymbrowitz stated.

“The statistics are alarming.  According to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, gambling addictions increase by approximately ten percent within a 50-mile radius of casinos and bankruptcy rates are about 18 percent higher in communities with casinos.  This issue affects everyone, as University of Georgia researchers pointed out, a problem gambler costs society $13,586; other studies put that figure as high as $52,000 annually.  Add to this a myriad of public health problems including drug addiction, domestic violence, divorce, child abuse, suicide attempts, and crime and it becomes obvious that allocating money for problem gambling prevention programs is an investment not an expense,” Cymbrowitz explained.                                                      

“New York State already has one million problem gamblers. Offering New Yorkers additional gambling venues will surely add to this number.  As we move ahead, I look forward to working on a comprehensive proposal that includes a prevention and treatment component,” Cymbrowitz said.

Cymbrowitz, who voted for the concurrent amendment earlier this week, has been calling for a proactive plan to prevent an increase in problem gambling since the amendment was first proposed last August.  In a letter to Bennett Liebman, New York State’s Deputy Secretary for Gaming and Racing, he called for a percentage of revenue generated from any new gambling offerings in New York State to be dedicated to prevention and treatment of problem and compulsive gamblers.

Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, Chairman of the Assembly’s Racing and Wagering Committee and sponsor of the concurrent resolution has committed to allocating funding for compulsive gambling prevention and treatment programs.  The details will be worked out next year when the enabling resolution will be deliberated and written.

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  • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

    *eyeroll* Yea, the government is REAAALY concerned with the mental health of their constituents. 

    • http://www.nedberke.com Ned Berke

      “the government”

      Yep. One politician represents the entirety of “the government,” which, of course, is nothing more than a personified monolithic enterprise of one mind and singular interest, forever and always.

      Thanks for another thought provoking comment, Arthur.

      • http://www.njluxurymotors.com Arthur Borko

        If someone has a gambling problem it’s not the governments responsibility to prevent them from gambling. 

        Maybe that’s just too simple an opinion. Just because some people are addicted to gambling, doesn’t mean it’s ok for the government to ban other consenting adults from doing so. 

        Regulating gambling for fairness and safety like any other business is one thing. We all deserve that equal playing field

        On the other hand I wouldn’t approve of a massive influx of gambling establishments into where I live. All things in moderation.

        People need to be responsible for themselves.

      • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

        He should stick to his commentS about seniors not being educated….

  • Barkingspider07

    I would worry if a casino came to our neighborhood.  I lived in Las Vegas for a short time and witnessed alot of low lives coming into the casinos, drinking in the streets and fighting.

  • Stan_LS

    “bankruptcy rates are about 18 percent higher in communities with casinos.” – Ah… Isn’t statistics fun? Note that they don’t provide any data in regards to how more/less frequent new businesses spring up in these communities vs. those that don’t have casinos in their vicinity. That quote is meaningless without that data.

  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    Well, if we’re banning addiction, I suggest a ban on the following:  the internet, cell phones, junk food, jogging, sports, shopping, to name a few.

    Putting up a shopping mall in a neighborhood probably leads to increases in bankruptcies too, I’ll betcha!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    So about 4% of the population consists of problem gamblers. Now this is the present number, and it seems to represent a big enough problem that it’s particulars should be considered. Is a problem gambler one participates in games of chance, or is the person who buys an inordinate amount of lottery tickets also a problem gambler. The answer is, indeed, both are. Now who runs the lotteries? The State Of New York. Would Mr. Cymbowitz suggest eliminating that form of gambling, which studies have shown exist in virtually every community in New York State.

    I do rather suspect that opening of casinos in New York might have the effect of diminishing the amount of revenue the State gets from lottery sales by about 18%. Some of the problem gamblers would like the excitement of the casinos. But many just want to win big. Why travel to a casino when the corner store has all sorts of cool looking lottery cards?

    • Bugg

      We already have problem gamblers. Every deli and newsstand has a steady stream of bluehairs and younger who clog the line buying lotto when you need a newspaper or a cool drink.

      People are going to gamble. There are casinos and bookies in most of western Europe and Vegas. Government trying to stop it is a waste of time. Government running it worse. Said lotto games were suppsoed to be earmakred for education, until pols merely took the cash into general revenuse(and I wonder how incumbent forever Cymbrowits voted on that!)And only NYC has ever run a racing bookie and lost money. 

       People are adults; let then make their own decisions, even if theya re bad ones.  Allow it, regualte it tax it. It’s there anyway.

      But if you want to attack casinos, you can rightly point out that their long-term economic benefit is practically nonexistent in most places. Atlantic City outside of the casinos is a dump. Vegas past the strip is also a mess(though it’s outlying burbs are very nice).

      I don’t mean to speak ill or single out Cymbrowiitz, but we could do with less politicians seeking out problems that barely exists and that government  shouldn’t be trying to solve in the first place.

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