NYS OSAS and NYSED Announce New Toolkit To Help Prevent Underage Gambling

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and the New York State Education Department today announced the launch of a new Problem Gambling Prevention Toolkit to be used in school districts statewide. The new comprehensive Toolkit can be used by New York State school administrators, educators, pupil personnel services, parent-teacher associations, parents, and community groups to teach students and parents about preventing underage gambling. It also provides helpful information about how to begin conversations with young people about the risks associated with gambling. View the Toolkit, here.

 “This valuable new resource will enable us to reach children early in their lives, to help them understand that gambling is not a risk-free behavior,” said New York State OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “Collaborating with our partners in the State Education Department, we are able to make a bigger impact than either agency could on its own. Statewide prevention efforts like this are an important part of Governor Cuomo’s multi-pronged approach to addressing addiction in all its forms.”

“Gambling among adolescents and teens can have negative consequences on school attendance and academic performance,” New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “By addressing this issue early, in the classroom, we can help our students make informed, positive decisions. With these materials, we are equipping schools, parents and communities with the tools they need to have constructive conversations with young people about gambling prevention and addiction.”

The Education Department will promote the Problem Gambling Prevention Toolkit with direct outreach to school districts and through social media and newsletters.  The Problem Gambling Prevention Toolkit includes such resources as sample school-based policies, evidence-based curriculums, and ways to communicate with students about the potential risks of gambling behaviors as well as warning signs. The information and strategies can be easily replicated and selectively used in various ways within the school district.

The need for interventions at an early age is supported by the following information gathered from the New York State OASAS Youth Development Survey 2014-15 Report (YDS Report) regarding the prevalence of underage gambling in New York State:

  • 49% of youth in grades 7-12 reported gambling at least once in the past year; and
  • 85% of youth in grades 7-12 believe their parents would feel that it was wrong for them to gamble.

 Furthermore, according to the YDS Report, during the past year:

  • 26% of 7th-12th graders purchased a lottery ticket;
  • 18% bet money on sports; and
  • 15% played cards for money.

To learn more about the warning signs of gambling addiction, visit www.oasas.ny.gov, and view downloadable brochures for raising awareness about Problem Gambling.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, including a gambling addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the State's HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).