2012-05-25 / Top Stories

State Considering Raising Gambling Age To 21

By Nicholas Briano

Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct could one day be limited to 21-years-of-age and older. Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct could one day be limited to 21-years-of-age and older. As a supporter of the proposed mega convention center and expanded gaming at Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder announced this week that he authored legislation that would bring full casino gaming one step closer to reality in New York State.

His bill in the assembly would change the gambling age in New York State from 18 to 21.

The legislation is in response to a possible constitutional amendment to allow enhanced gaming in casinos across the state. Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., who also supports expanded gaming in the area, has introduced the same bill in the Senate.

“Casinos have a lot to offer our community,” Goldfeder said in a statement. “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.”

Goldfeder supports his proposal to raise the gambling age by quoting a study from the organization Youth Gambling International, which found that compared to adults, young people are two-to-three times more likely to develop a gambling problem.

In addition, the National Institutes of Health says gambling activity during adolescence and young adulthood is related to a higher likelihood of problems with gambling later in life.

In raising the gambling age Goldfeder believes they can prevent problems such as those from occurring while increasing the likelihood that full casino gaming would eventually arrive in New York.

“This bill would mitigate the potential negative effects gambling can have on our youth and decrease exposure to alcohol for those younger than 21,” he said. “Making casinos [limited to] 21 and older just makes sense,”

Raising the gambling age to 21 would align New York with its neighboring states, New Jersey and Connecticut, both of which have longstanding, successful casinos.

Even though the Assemblyman authored the bill, the voters will ultimately get the final say.

That’s because the proposed legislation, Goldfeder says, would be considered an amendment to the constitution and would first have to pass in both the Assembly and Senate this year, again in 2013, and thereafter be placed on a statewide referendum ballot.

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