YONKERS, NY — As the New York area moves closer to gambling addiction want to double down on prevention programs.Advocates for people with
“We know problem gambling is prevalent in our communities,” said community activist Leilani Yizar-Reid.
Yizar-Reid works with the New York State Gaming Commission and Grand Empire City Casino to ensure at-risk gamblers have the best support.
“To be able to connect people to care, whether it’s the person with problem gambling or the people affected by it,” Yizar-Reid said.
The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that 2 million adults in the United States have gambling addiction and 6 million are considered to have mild or moderate gambling problems.
“In the area of problem gambling, it’s interesting. There’s always such a stigma…and if you think about the expansion that’s going to happen…expanding is probably going to happen here at MGM Yonkers,” said Jim Manley , executive director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling.
This expansion, which is expected to include Grand Empire, is among three casino licenses the state may soon award to generate revenue and jobs.
Grand Empire currently only has electronic slots and table games, but if licensed, it could expand into a full-scale casino with live games like poker and blackjack.
Resorts World in Queens also fought for a full license. It is still unclear where a third could go. Midtown Manhattan or Citi Field have been suggested as possible locations.
Wednesday’s press conference in Yonkers was perhaps Empire Casino’s chance to show that it is responsible and ready.
“All employees at Empire City and at each MGM property complete responsible gaming training,” said Ed Domingo, general manager of Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts. “It’s our experts who have a deep understanding of spotting the signs of high-risk gambling.”
Sources say the final state budget will include a provision allowing for three licenses and that funds in the bill would be earmarked for addiction.
If you or someone you know needs help with a gambling addiction, visit oasas.ny.gov/problem-gambling for more information and resources.