The New York State legislative session runs from January until June each year. In between sessions, passed bills are gradually released to the governor for consideration.
Recently, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that requires gambling facilities to notify compulsive gamblers where they can get help for their gambling addictions. Under the new law, gambling facilities have 120 days to post signs in prominent locations and within a reasonable distance of each entrance and exit that encourage problem gamblers to reach out to the state’s HOPEline at (877) 846-7369.
Apparently, legislators thought the current signage requirements were not working. According to the bill’s sponsors, existing New York law yielded “haphazard and inconsistent signs, resulting in little use of the state's 24-hour helpline.” The New York State Council on Problem Gambling received less than 1,500 calls in 2011, although an estimated one million New Yorkers are problem gamblers.
While NYCF sincerely hopes that the new signs will motivate more problem gamblers to seek help, we find this legislation to be more than a bit absurd. Does our state government expect us to believe that a few signs on casino doors will stem the tide of gambling addiction that has been unleashed with the passage of Governor Cuomo’s casino amendment? If our Governor and legislators were truly concerned about helping problem gamblers, they would not have voted to allow up to seven new casinos within our borders. Governor Cuomo, sign placement is not the problem here. Casinos are.