Gambling addiction advocates want extra focus on prevention as NYC inches closer to possible casino deal

YONKERS, NY – As the New York area approaches possible casino dealadvocates of people with gambling addiction want to double prevention programs.

“We know that the problem of gambling is prevalent in our communities,” said community advocate Leilani Yizar-Reid.

Yizar-Reid works with the New York State Gambling Commission and Grand Empire City Casino to provide the best support for high-risk gamblers.

“It’s possible to connect people with care, whether it’s a person struggling with a gambling problem or individuals affected by it,” Yizar-Reid said.

The National Problem Gambling Council estimates that 2 million adults in the United States have a gambling addiction, and an estimated 6 million have mild or moderate gambling problems.

“In the field of problematic gambling, it’s interesting. There’s still such a stigma … and if you’re thinking about the enlargement that will happen … the expansion is likely to happen here at MGM Yonkers,” said Jim Manley, executive director of the New York City Council. for problematic gambling.

The extension, which is expected to include the Grand Empire, is part of one of three casino licenses the state could soon grant to generate revenue and jobs.

Grand Empire currently only has slots and electronic table games, but if it wins the license, it could expand into a full-scale casino with live games like poker and blackjack.

Resorts World in Queens is also fighting for a full license. It is still unclear where a third could go. Midtown Manhattan or City Field are listed as possible locations.

Wednesday’s press conference at Yonkers was perhaps an opportunity for Empire Casino to show they are responsible and willing.

“All employees at Empire City and every MGM facility are undergoing responsible gaming training,” said Ed Domingo, Empire City Casino by the CEO of MGM Resorts. “These are our experts with heightened knowledge of detecting those who show signs of risky play.”

Sources say the final state budget will include a provision that will allow for three licenses, and the money will be set aside in the law to fight addiction.

If you or someone you know needs help with gambling addiction, visit for more information and resources.

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