The New York State Gaming Commission, New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports and New York Council on Problem Gambling – which together comprise New York’s Responsible Play Partnership (RPP) – came together Thursday with executive management at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel to discuss steps being taken to address problem gambling.
Gaming Commission Executive Director Robert Williams debuted signage featuring the industry’s first-ever Quick Response (QR) code to connect problem gamblers with trained problem gambling clinicians where they live, in real time.
He said, “As the gaming arena continues to expand across New York state, the commission and our partners are committed to making gaming safe and responsible for all. We are united in working together to make sure that individuals who need help have access to the necessary tools and resources in a timely manner.”
Once scanned, the QR code automatically links users to the Council on Problem Gambling’s website (www.nyproblemgamblinghelp.org), which provides access to a network of regional problem gambling resource centers supported by OASAS. The QR code is available on advertising and promotional materials issued by the Gaming Commission and its licensees. Applications include New York Lottery scratch-off tickets, promotional screens at nearly 15,000 Lottery retail outlets statewide, mobile sports wagering promotional mailings, complementary messaging on all age 18-plus verification signage posted at horse racing tracks, and digital signage found on the gaming floor at video lottery gaming facilities and commercial casinos.
OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, “When an individual makes the decision to get help for gambling problems, it is essential that a treatment connection is made quickly. The QR code is an innovative approach to connecting individuals to specially trained outpatient and inpatient treatment programs and private practitioners, throughout the state. OASAS is pleased to be a member of the Responsible Play Partnership, as we work to ensure that all New Yorkers who gamble do it responsibly and know where to get help if they need it.”
Since its launch in January, the QR code has logged more than 3,400 total scans and more than 900 unique scans.
The RPP continues to explore ways to harness technology to bring immediate and lasting help to those who need it.
Council Executive Director Jim Maney shared, "In the 10th year of the RPP’s unprecedented collaboration, it is fitting that we focus on raising awareness of safety measures to protect NYers and celebrate the advancements we've made in connecting those in need to care. We look forward to next steps in the evolution of problem gambling prevention in NYS."
The council maintains a network of regional problem gambling resource centers, including the western PGRC ([email protected]), to provide services that raise awareness of the risks of problem gambling and advocate for those in need.
Western PGRC Program Manager Angela DiRosa said, “Ensuring that all New Yorkers are aware of the potential risks related to gambling as well as how and where to get help if gambling becomes a problem is more important than ever. Leveraging technology like the QR code is another way to remove barriers to problem gambling screening, intervention and treatment, and reduces the stigma associated with seeking those services.”
“We appreciate the guidance set forth by the Gaming Commission and our colleagues at OASAS and the New York Council on Problem Gambling,” Batavia Downs Gaming President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek said. “Posters and decals advertising the resources available to New Yorkers are found throughout our facility. The new QR code will be featured prominently throughout the property and on our internal TV system to make sure our guests are aware of the growing number of problem gambling-related programs and services available to them, and how best to access that help, when needed.”