Mobile sports betting rakes in $909M for NYS, gambling counselor says young people seeking help

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday that mobile sports betting generated $909 million dollars for New York State in its first year from $16 billion wagered.

That revenue she said will go to fund education, youth sports programming, and gambling treatment and recovery services. Hochul called this “responsible entertainment for millions”.

“Most people can gamble, and enjoy it as an activity,” said Jeffrey Wierzbicki with the Finger Lakes Problem Gambling Resource Center.

But Wierzbicki said for some, it’s a serious issue. “Problem gambling and gambling addiction can be very easily hidden.”

He said when people have a gambling problem, there are no outward symptoms, but he’s seen it all. “People end up using mortgage money, money for baby diapers, and retirement funds,” he said.

With gambling now so accessible on your phone, he said there’s been a jump in clients. “About half of our calls that are coming in, are coming from a younger audience now,” said Wierzbicki.

That, he called “disturbing,” and young folks are finding new ways to pay for the habit. “And they’re using some of their college money and they’re running out of money.”

Davi who bets via the ‘Draft Kings’ app told News 8 there is an element about it that hooks you. 

“It’s very easy and it can be highly addictive. Like if you keep winning,” he said.

Marty Lechner said tell him about it. Sports betting once in Vegas was enough. He won’t be doing any of it in New York. “If I lived in Vegas, I’d be doing it all day long,” he said.

Bills super fan Josh Caccamise will be watching the game this Sunday, but Buffalo or not, he plays “It just makes games that aren’t Bills games —for me— more interesting,” said Caccamise.

Wierzbicki says young or old, however serious your problem is, they will meet you where you’re at. “Whatever they need, we’re there for them.”

Wierzbicki said please, don’t wait for your problem to get too bad. Reach out to them at 585-351-2622, or you can email