New York State Senator Tim Kennedy worries that the state by state legalization of internet gambling could lead to increased illegal and ‘predatory’ gambling in New York. Kennedy is a strong advocate for addiction treatment for problem gamblers. Kennedy said that internet gambling sites can be problematic for those suffering from gambling addiction. So far three states have legalized internet gambling; Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada. King says that the legalization of internet gambling is raising red flags for states that that want to make sure that the industry is regulated. Kennedy called on the New York State Gaming Commission to investigate illegal internet gambling and to make sure New Yorkers are protected from predatory gambling sites.
Kennedy contends the New York is unable to regulate gaming companies licensed in New Jersey and said that New Jersey gaming sites will have easy access to gamblers in New York. Kennedy said the sites can gain access to gamblers in the state through middle men who can set up “virtual private networks” to host online casinos. The technology is simple and could be manipulated to take advantage of problem gamblers. Some networks charge over the top fees to access the gaming network.
Kennedy told reporters “There are some websites that have lured customers into using their online casino platform. They have built a customer base, but very few people are aware of the egregious actions they have taken over the years. These sites are stacking the deck and consumers are losing — and losing big. We need to prevent these bad actors from getting a license to behave this way anywhere in the country and especially prevent them from targeting minors and those suffering from a gambling addiction.” Current New York laws do not contain an enforcement mechanism to deter gaming sites from targeting New York gamblers.
Kennedy said that the New York State Gaming Commission should investigate the proliferation of illegal and ‘predatory’ sites in neighboring states like New Jersey. Kennedy revealed his motivation when he said that every dollar spent gambling online is lost revenue for casinos in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Some believe that Kennedy is posturing to protect local casinos. Kennedy represents New York State Senate’s 63rd District. The district is comprised of the towns of Cheektowaga, Eden, Hamburg and West Seneca, the city of Lackawanna and parts of the city of Buffalo.