Problem Gambling Resources In New York

New York has a range of casinos in its heartland, as well as in other locations throughout the state. But while casinos provide entertainment to many people, they can also sometimes lead to problem gambling or gambling addiction.

Problem gamblers are those who cannot control their compulsion to gamble and who spend more and more time and money at casinos and other gambling locations. It can be difficult for problem gamblers to overcome gambling addiction by themselves.

To this end, the following guide is a comprehensive breakdown of problem gambling resources in New York. It’ll also go over the signs of gambling addiction and what you should do if you think that you or someone you love may be suffering from problem gambling habits.

How do New York casinos protect problem gamblers?

While it’s largely up to players to protect themselves from developing bad gambling habits, New York casinos can also protect problem gamblers when things slip out of their control.

At their core, casinos in New York and elsewhere throughout the country are entertainment venues first and foremost. They don’t want people to develop harmful gambling habits or become so addicted to gambling that they end up spending their life savings on games.

It’s immoral, for starters. But it’s also bad for business — casinos want people to have a good time at their games and come back to spend more money in the future.

Because of these joint motivations, New York casinos often implement various protective measures and provide problem gamblers with resources so they can dig themselves out of any ruts. For instance, New York casinos take the following steps:

  • Preventing underage gambling by checking IDs and not allowing minors to participate in any gambling.
  • Providing problem gambling resources for those who seek help.
  • Preventing gamblers who are clearly behaving irrationally or inappropriately from spending more time at tables or slot machines.

How do I know if I have a gambling problem?

Problematic or compulsive gambling can happen to anyone. It actually has a medical term: gambling disorder.

Once addicted to gambling, you might experience symptoms that cause you to feel that you must keep gambling no matter the consequences. This is because gambling stimulates your brain’s reward system in a way similar to drugs or alcohol. This can eventually lead to gambling addiction if you aren’t careful or if you are neurologically vulnerable to addiction due to genetics.

You might be experiencing the symptoms of compulsive gambling if you:

  • Are constantly preoccupied with gambling — this is more than just looking forward to going to the casino on the weekend. It’s a problem if your free thoughts are constantly preoccupied with how to gamble or get more gambling money.
  • Constantly need to gamble increasing amounts of money to get the same excitement or thrill.
  • Are unable to control your gambling habits or cut back.
  • Feel irritable, restless or grumpy when you aren’t gambling.
  • Feel unsatisfied or unhappy when you aren’t gambling.
  • Use gambling to escape problems in your life or negative feelings.
  • Constantly try to chase your losses, meaning you try to get back money you lost by gambling more money.
  • Lie to family members to hide your gambling problems.
  • Jeopardize your important relationships or other life goals, such as your job or schooling, in order to gamble more frequently.
  • Resort to crimes like theft or fraud to increase your gambling money.

Note that problem gamblers can experience all or only some of these symptoms. Furthermore, experiencing one or more of these symptoms does not mean that you are beyond help. To the contrary, it means you can utilize problem gambling resources and get your life back on track starting today.

What can I do to help myself?

Problem gamblers can take immediate steps to help deal with gambling cravings and start working toward a better future.

  • One good tip is to avoid isolation. Try to seek out friends and family and spend time in positive social circumstances to counteract gambling cravings.
  • Along the same vein, try to build up a support group of people who can distract you when you want to gamble and who like to be around you.
  • Train yourself to postpone gambling. Start by waiting for just five minutes and progressively increase the time you wait up to an hour or even a day
  • Utilize distraction activities when you feel the urge to gamble. Try to make these positive, confidence-building activities such as working out or starting a new creative project.

Perhaps most important, problem gamblers should never feel bad about themselves if they eventually lapse and gamble when trying to quit. Addiction is one of the hardest conditions a person can face, and there’s no shame in having to attempt to quit gambling more than once.

The important thing is to maintain a positive attitude and seek out helpful problem gambling resources whenever it’s necessary.

Ways casinos can implement responsible gambling

Players aren’t in the fight against problem gambling alone. Casinos can also implement responsible gambling practices in each of their locations or as company-wide policies. These include:

  • Offering self-exclusion programs. Self-exclusion programs allow guests to voluntarily request that a casino prevent them from participating in any gambling. All guests have to do is fill out a form, and the casino will honor it regardless of whether the guests change their minds later. Guests have the choice to dictate how long they want to be excluded. Typical time limits are one year, three years or five years.
  • Providing gambling support centers on premises. Certain casinos may provide these centers in convenient locations, such as across from their gift shops. These centers provide gamblers with information to help them practice self-exclusion or smart financial support strategies. All assistance is available on a confidential basis so that gamblers don’t feel as through their identities are unnecessarily exposed to family or friends.
  • Offering additional problem gambling resources, such as access to the various programs below. These include the New York Council on Problem Gaming and more.
  • Preventing anyone who’s underage from participating in any gambling. Casinos regularly check identification to make sure that only people who are 21 or older (or 18 in states where that is the gambling age) can participate. This helps prevent problematic gambling by stopping young people from developing gambling addiction early.
  • “Cutting off” guests who are clearly in need of assistance rather than allowing them to continue to spend irresponsibly. Responsible casinos will strive to cultivate a helpful and entertainment-based atmosphere that prevents individuals from pursuing harmful gambling streaks.

Resources for problem gambling in New York

New York has a lot of casinos to choose from, but it also offers a variety of resources for problem gambling treatment. Each of these resources can be helpful if you or someone you know is experiencing gambling addiction. It may be helpful to contact each organization in turn if you require assistance.

New York Council on Problem Gambling

The New York Council on Problem Gambling is the local branch of the larger national council organization. It is a robust problem gambling assistance resource with several ways to help, including:

  • A 24/7 national hotline.
  • A confidential mailing address and email address.
  • A fact sheet for gambling and problem gambling.
  • Several self-help resources.

The self-help resources are great places to check if you feel uncomfortable discussing gambling addiction with anyone else. Furthermore, many of the self-help locations offer anonymity, so you don’t have to feel as though you’re compromising your identity by seeking help for gambling addiction.

Furthermore, the NYCPG provides several screening tools. Its three available problem gaming assessment tools can help you determine whether you are suffering from gambling addiction and if you need assistance from trained clinical professionals. Additional resources include:

  • A certified gambling counselor directory.
  • A list of licensed treatment facilities.

NY Problem Gambling Resource Center

The New York Problem Gambling Resource Center is a comprehensive collection of resource programs that you can choose from based on your region. The center provides a variety of services that can help to raise awareness of problem gambling and advocate for those who can’t do so themselves.

All of the services on the website are available free of cost, so problem gamblers don’t need to worry about being able to pay for treatment. Furthermore, the majority of the services are multilingual for English, Spanish and other language speakers. Available services and resources include:

  • Educational and training resources: These can assist both problem gamblers and their friends and family.
  • Referral programs: These resources can help individuals connect with treatment resources, such as counselors or treatment centers, depending on their needs.
  • Assessment resources: The Problem Gambling Resource Center offers a variety of licensed professionals who can provide standardized assessments for potential problematic gamblers to identify and determine treatment plans for their needs.
  • Treatment resources: Those licensed professionals can also help problem gamblers get the treatment they need, as well as provide limited treatment to their family members.
  • Recovery support resources: Resource center clients may be referred to recovery support services and self-help groups.

Division of Gaming Enforcement Self Exclusion Program

All licensed and regulated casinos are under the oversight of the New York State Gaming Commission. This organization also provides self-exclusion forms for all licensed gambling facilities. This allows problem gamblers to self-exclude from any gambling institution, even if the casino they attend doesn’t have forms on hand.

You can fill out these forms by visiting the New York State Gaming Commission’s website. This request can then be mailed to a confidential address.

Remember, you can also self-exclude using programs available at physical casino locations. Self-exclusion is one of the best ways to limit excessive gambling and prevent yourself from continuing to indulge in harmful gambling activities.

Gamblers Anonymous

The New York Gamblers Anonymous program is a 12-step program that compulsive gamblers can utilize to help deal with and recover from gambling addiction. There are no requirements for GA membership save for a desire to quit gambling entirely.

Gamblers Anonymous provides a safe space and social resource for problem gamblers who may need support from people who understand what they are going through. GA doesn’t have any dues or fees and is supported instead through contributions from its members.

You can learn more about the 12-step recovery program, which forms the foundation for everyone in the GA’s fellowship, by visiting their website.

International Center for Responsible Gaming

Previously called the National Center for Responsible Gaming, the ICRG is a worldwide organization dedicated to helping individuals overcome gambling addiction and retake control of their lives. It’s a very detailed website that includes a wealth of research surrounding gambling addiction and problematic habits.

In addition, it provides tons of educational resources that problem gamblers and their families can use to better understand the condition of gambling addiction and determine the best route forward. Additional resources include:

  • Tests you can take to determine whether you are possibly suffering from gambling addiction.
  • Tools you can use to talk to children about gambling.
  • Educational videos and tests.
  • Guides for policymakers concerned about problem gambling in their communities.

The ICRG is a vital resource for those looking to learn more about problem gambling and halt its progress in their own lives.

Ultimately, players and casinos both share responsibility for mitigating the harm that problem gambling can cause. Over the years, problem gambling has affected millions of people and has caused untold suffering and pain. There’s no shame in being affecting by gambling addiction in any form.

But if you or someone you know is suffering from problem gambling habits, you’re not alone. Use the resources above to find others for support and don’t hesitate to contact any of the organizations above. They’re ready and willing to help you overcome problem gambling and recover from gambling addiction.