Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center program manager Caroline Valinoti,...

Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center program manager Caroline Valinoti, at Jake's 58 in Islandia on Thursday, highlights programs available to help people with gambling addiction.

Credit: Morgan Campbell

As Jake's 58 readies a $200 million expansion with twice as many betting machines, state gaming officials on Thursday came to the Islandia casino to tout programs to help problem gamblers. 

Experts have said gambling addiction has spiked in recent years in New York, coinciding with the opening of Jake's 58 in 2017 and the legalization last year of mobile sports betting in New York. In addition, state officials plan to award licenses for three new downstate traditional casinos later this year that could include one on Long Island. 

Even as they promote gambling as an economic development engine, state officials offer a range of programs combating addiction, including a toll-free, 24-hour hotline, called HOPEline, to connect problem gamblers with counseling services. 

Machines at Jake's 58 carry labels with the HOPEline phone number, Suffolk County Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. managing director Phil Boyle said, adding that the casino also takes part in the state's "self-exclusion" program, which allows gamblers to voluntarily ban themselves from gambling facilities throughout the state. Names and photos of participants are distributed to all state casinos; violators could be arrested and forfeit their winnings. Forms are available on the Jake's 58 website, jakes58.com/responsible-gaming/

“We very much care about all of our customers, and if there are people who are having troubles with gambling addiction, we want to help them get the help they need,” Boyle said in an interview. 

The self-exclusion program is run by the state Gaming Commission, which is funded by Jake's and other New York casinos, a commission spokesman said.

Critics say the state's programs are useful but insufficient.

Jeffrey Reynolds, president of Garden City-based Family & Children’s Association, which provides a range of counseling services, said the self-exclusion and hotline programs are "a step in the right direction," but the state must fund more prevention programs and promote them as much as they promote gambling opportunities.

"We need to go beyond putting stickers on slot machines,” Reynolds said. "The reality is that most of the young men who are falling prey to mobile sports betting are not calling hotlines.”

Suffolk OTB in January announced plans to double Jake's 58's video lottery terminals from 1,000 to 2,000 as part of expansion plans that include new conference rooms, sports bars and a parking garage. New machines should be ready by early 2025. 

Jake's 58 has brought in $1.8 billion in gross revenue from wagers since Jan. 1, or $353.3 million monthly through May 31, according to online state gambling records.

Appearing Thursday at Jake's were members of New York's Responsible Play Partnership, including leaders of the state Gaming Commission, the New York Council on Problem Gambling and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, or OASAS.

HOPEline calls are routed to the Problem Gambling Resource Center, a counseling program with a location in Uniondale. The resource center is funded by OASAS, which receives $6 million each fiscal year from mobile sports gambling revenue.

Pamela Brenner-Davis, Uniondale team leader, said her office has seen a "steady" increase in calls since the program was established in 2019. The largest share of clients are between ages 18 and 30, but one was 15, she said.

Jake's 58 patrons must be at least 18; the minimum age for sports betting is 21.

“Long Island traditionally has one of the highest call volumes in New York," Brenner-Davis said. 

“[Gambling sites bring] in a lot of revenue for the state, but they also cause a lot of problems for people.”


Here are phone/text numbers and websites for information on counseling services for those addicted to gambling:

  • New York State HOPEline: 877-846-7369 or text 467369
  • Problem Gambling Resource Center (Uniondale office): 516-226-8342
  • New York State Office for Problem Gambling Services: oasas.ny.gov/gambling/
  • Gamblers Anonymous, Long Island region: 855-222-5542

SOURCES: New York State Gaming Commission, New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports, Problem Gambling Resource Center

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