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Legalized Sports Betting Off And Running In New York

NFL football

In June, New York joined the list of states that have legalized sports betting. The move came in time for the National Football League's 100th season.

NFL’s 100th season kicked off Thursday night. As the Green Bay Packers played the Chicago Bears, bettors lined up at 14 kiosks and six windows to make wagers at Rivers Casino in Schenectady, where Hal Wafer is Sportsbook Manager. In New York, sports betting is now legal at casinos, but not by mobile app.   "We have a very trained and helpful staff, be it at the counter or with myself or the supervisors to help anybody right along with any questions and thoughts they might have along with a little 'how-to' way to show them on the kiosk and we also have kiosk ambassadors, they'll go out there and they'll help you set up a ticket, show you how to bet on the kiosk that has a computer interface and you'll be able to do it all by yourself if you didn't want a human helping you at the window."

Thursday night at Rivers, Newschannel13 spoke with casino patron Kitrick Bailey.     "I think it's wonderful for not only the casino, but for all the patrons that come in that they have a revenue place where they can make a small bet or a large wager and get paid right after the game.”

According to the American Gaming Association, 7 million people say they’ll bet legally on NFL games this season at a casino sportsbook, up 1.2 million from last year.

Wafer says bettors at Rivers aren't limited to the NFL.   "It's a majority of sports. We have a U.K. bookmaker, so some odd sports like Cricket, something like that that we'll have later on, but you know all your American, you know, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, everything that you normally would be accustomed to betting, you know, spread, money line, over-under totals, even in-game wagering, which is a little bit of a nuance for a lot of folks here in the United States is offered."

The AGA survey finds that 38 million American adults — 15 percent of the U.S. adult population —are planning to bet on NFL games this season.

With the increase in sports betting outlets, concerns have also been raised about a spike in problem gambling. Problem gamblers in New York can receive in-patient care at several addiction treatment centers. Robert Kent is the General Counsel for the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.  "We have some outpatient programs that can accept folks who have a problem gambling issue. And all of our programs can accept anyone who has a substance use disorder that's co-occurring with a problem gambling issue."

Previous AGA researchshows that the NFL stands to make $2.3 billion a year from a widespread legal sports betting market, largely as the result of increased fan engagement.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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