The Family & Children's Association opened the centers in Hicksville and Hempstead.

For the Long Island gambling addict, and those at risk of becoming one, the lure of betting big on a game like Sunday's Super Bowl can lead to even bigger losses, and none of them connected to money.

On Tuesday, a pair of support centers opened in Hicksville and Hempstead — paid for by a Las Vegas casino giant vying for a downstate casino license — with promises of help and treatment for gamblers who found out too late when to stop.

Officials with the Garden City nonprofit Family & Children’s Association announced the openings at their headquarters and also urged state lawmakers to boost funding for gambling treatment. They called for a statewide study to analyze gambling addiction and its social impact since legalization of online wagering, including mobile betting, two years ago. 

The two new centers are funded by $200,000 from Las Vegas Sands, said Jeffrey Reynolds, president of the Family & Children’s Association at a news conference where he was joined by representatives of the Sands as well as Suffolk OTB.

The Sands corporation has submitted an application to build a $6 billion casino and resort at the Nassau Hub, also site of the Nassau Coliseum.

Reynolds said his organization initially opposed the plan for the new casino before several meetings with the Sands, which promised gambling addiction services and potential for job growth at the site. 

Sands Vice President Ron Reese said Tuesday that most gambler see wagering as a form of entertainment and “will do so without any issues.”

“It's important for us to know that we are not going to solve those issues,” Reese said at the news conference. “But we can help provide the resources for the treatment, the awareness and the research that needs to be done to get help to those people.”

The Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center, which is funded by the state Office of Addiction Services and Support, is partnering with the Hempstead and Hicksville support centers, which can refer gamblers in need to private clinicians and outpatient and inpatient clinics, said Pamela Brenner-Davis, regional leader for the Uniondale-based resource center.

“There are a growing number of individuals across our region that are being impacted by gambling harm,” she said. “With the expansion of gambling services and the expansion of mobile sports betting, more and more people are being impacted by the harm both on an individual level, a family level, relationship level and community level.”

The American Gaming Association, the trade group of the U.S. casino industry, estimated that nationwide about 68 million adults, or one in four, are expected to wager $23 billion combined on Super Bowl LVIII, according to Reynolds.

The National Council on Problem Gambling also estimates that about 1% of gamblers, or 2 million adults, meet the clinical diagnosis of having a severe gambling problem. Up to 3% of gamblers, or 4 to 6 million adults, have mild to moderate gambling problems, he said.

“They're experiencing some significant problems as a result of their gambling issues of family strife, job loss, financial ruin, anxiety, depression, and even a wide range of medical conditions have been linked up with problem gambling, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and peptic ulcers,” Reynolds said.

There has been no data measuring serious gambling problems in New York since online wagering was legalized in 2022 and casinos expanded across the state, including at Jake’s 58 in Islandia. The last comprehensive needs and social impact study of gambling in New York was done in 2006, he said.

“Here in New York, we don't know how many people are struggling with problem gambling issues,” Reynolds said. “I'll also say that, we've seen an expansion of sports betting. And as much as we've talked about planned casinos and everything else, the reality is that every single college kid out there has a casino that blinks, beeps and beckons in their back pocket 24/7. And we're seeing the impact of that in a very, very real way.”

In fact, online sports betting in 2022 triggered a 41% increase in people calling the Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center for help compared to 2021, growing from 171 to 242, according to officials with state Office of Addiction Services and Support and others following the issue.

New York generated $862 million from mobile sports betting last year, following $693 million in mobile betting revenue in 2022. In addition to $200 million in licensing fees, the state has generated a total revenue of $1.75 billion since 2022.

The Hicksville location, at 180 Broadway, 2nd floor, is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Hempstead location, at 126 N. Franklin St., is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

For the Long Island gambling addict, and those at risk of becoming one, the lure of betting big on a game like Sunday's Super Bowl can lead to even bigger losses, and none of them connected to money.

On Tuesday, a pair of support centers opened in Hicksville and Hempstead — paid for by a Las Vegas casino giant vying for a downstate casino license — with promises of help and treatment for gamblers who found out too late when to stop.

Officials with the Garden City nonprofit Family & Children’s Association announced the openings at their headquarters and also urged state lawmakers to boost funding for gambling treatment. They called for a statewide study to analyze gambling addiction and its social impact since legalization of online wagering, including mobile betting, two years ago. 

Treatment promises

The two new centers are funded by $200,000 from Las Vegas Sands, said Jeffrey Reynolds, president of the Family & Children’s Association at a news conference where he was joined by representatives of the Sands as well as Suffolk OTB.

What to know

  • A pair of support centers for problem gamblers have opened in Hicksville and Hempstead.
  • The support centers are funded by $200,000 from the Las Vegas Sands, which is vying for a downstate casino license.
  • The centers can refer gamblers in need to private clinicians and outpatient and inpatient clinics.

The Sands corporation has submitted an application to build a $6 billion casino and resort at the Nassau Hub, also site of the Nassau Coliseum.

Reynolds said his organization initially opposed the plan for the new casino before several meetings with the Sands, which promised gambling addiction services and potential for job growth at the site. 

Sands Vice President Ron Reese said Tuesday that most gambler see wagering as a form of entertainment and “will do so without any issues.”

“It's important for us to know that we are not going to solve those issues,” Reese said at the news conference. “But we can help provide the resources for the treatment, the awareness and the research that needs to be done to get help to those people.”

Addiction treatment

The Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center, which is funded by the state Office of Addiction Services and Support, is partnering with the Hempstead and Hicksville support centers, which can refer gamblers in need to private clinicians and outpatient and inpatient clinics, said Pamela Brenner-Davis, regional leader for the Uniondale-based resource center.

“There are a growing number of individuals across our region that are being impacted by gambling harm,” she said. “With the expansion of gambling services and the expansion of mobile sports betting, more and more people are being impacted by the harm both on an individual level, a family level, relationship level and community level.”

The American Gaming Association, the trade group of the U.S. casino industry, estimated that nationwide about 68 million adults, or one in four, are expected to wager $23 billion combined on Super Bowl LVIII, according to Reynolds.

The National Council on Problem Gambling also estimates that about 1% of gamblers, or 2 million adults, meet the clinical diagnosis of having a severe gambling problem. Up to 3% of gamblers, or 4 to 6 million adults, have mild to moderate gambling problems, he said.

“They're experiencing some significant problems as a result of their gambling issues of family strife, job loss, financial ruin, anxiety, depression, and even a wide range of medical conditions have been linked up with problem gambling, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and peptic ulcers,” Reynolds said.

More calls for help

There has been no data measuring serious gambling problems in New York since online wagering was legalized in 2022 and casinos expanded across the state, including at Jake’s 58 in Islandia. The last comprehensive needs and social impact study of gambling in New York was done in 2006, he said.

“Here in New York, we don't know how many people are struggling with problem gambling issues,” Reynolds said. “I'll also say that, we've seen an expansion of sports betting. And as much as we've talked about planned casinos and everything else, the reality is that every single college kid out there has a casino that blinks, beeps and beckons in their back pocket 24/7. And we're seeing the impact of that in a very, very real way.”

In fact, online sports betting in 2022 triggered a 41% increase in people calling the Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center for help compared to 2021, growing from 171 to 242, according to officials with state Office of Addiction Services and Support and others following the issue.

New York generated $862 million from mobile sports betting last year, following $693 million in mobile betting revenue in 2022. In addition to $200 million in licensing fees, the state has generated a total revenue of $1.75 billion since 2022.

The Hicksville location, at 180 Broadway, 2nd floor, is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Hempstead location, at 126 N. Franklin St., is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

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