Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway) announced that he authored a bill in the Assembly to change the gambling age in New York State from 18 to 21 (A.10229). The legislation is in response to a possible constitutional amendment to allow enhanced gaming in casinos across the state. Senator Joseph P. Addabbo has introduced the bill in the Senate.
“Casinos have a lot to offer our community,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “As we’ve seen at Resorts World at Aqueduct Racetrack, gambling establishments can be strong economic machines for our local economy, boosting tourism and putting our struggling families back to work. However, we need to be aware of the problems that can potentially arise.”
The organization Youth Gambling International found that compared to adults, young people are two-to-three times more likely to develop a gambling problem.i According to the National Institutes of Health, gambling activity during adolescence and young adulthood is related to a higher likelihood of problems with gambling later in life. This legislation aims to avoid these risks before they happen, Assemblyman Goldfeder noted.
“This bill would mitigate the potential negative effects gambling can have on our youth and decrease exposure to alcohol for those younger than 21,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “Making casinos 21 and older just makes sense.”
Raising the gambling age would align New York with its neighboring states, New Jersey and Connecticut, both of which have longstanding, successful casinos. It would also link the gambling age to the state’s drinking age, Assemblyman Goldfeder noted.
“Many major gambling cities – like Las Vegas and Atlantic City – as well as our neighbors in Connecticut require that you be are 21 to gamble,” Assemblyman Goldfeder said. “My legislation would help curb the scourge of youth gambling addiction.”
Goldfeder also noted that his proposed legislation would be considered an amendment to the constitution would have to pass both houses of the legislature this year and again in 2013, and then would have to be placed on a statewide referendum ballot.