New York online casino legalization won’t happen during 2023 if Assembly or Senate iGaming bills aren’t included in the “one house” versions of the New York State Legislature‘s budget proposal on March 9. So state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. urged iGaming leaders he’d gathered for a roundtable discussion on March 7 to reach out to Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to express support for A3634 and S4856.
Addabbo, D-Ozone Park, sat side-by-side with state Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, today in the Manhattan New York State Senate Hearing Room.
The sponsors of S4856 and A3634, respectively, are chairmen of their chambers’ racing, gaming, and wagering committees. They’d already had a formal joint public hearing of the committees with lawmakers and online gambling leaders on Jan. 31 in Albany about the state’s existing online sports betting marketplace.
Addabbo said he invited those in the room for an informal, non-televised roundtable discussion to decide how to proceed with New York online casino, poker, and iLottery measures.
About 30 iGaming leaders ranging from the American Gaming Association (AGA) to DrafKings and from FanDuel to MGM Resorts International offered their opinions.
Addabbo urged those assembled to reach out to Hochul, Heastie, and Stewart-Cousins about the benefits of legal iGaming. Pretlow emphasized that for passage to happen, there needs to be agreement. He said agreeing in a group, then privately disagreeing, won’t help New York online casino become legal.
This is our moment. This is our moment. I’m telling you now.
Weigh in with lawmakers, he told iGaming leaders.
Because if the bills don’t succeed by Thursday, New York online casino legalization efforts are dead for the year. Addabbo said he and Pretlow won’t keep pushing for them after that.
It’s not going to be just me or Gary.
Katie Peters, FanDuel’s senior vice president for public policy, said:
We’re with you.
Addabbo is in Albany today because the iGaming bill will be among the matters included in conference budget discussions.
If the proposed New York online casino, poker, and iLottery measure isn’t added to the budget today, Addabbo said legalization efforts are dead for 2023.
Possible Objections to New York Online Casino
Addabbo said lawmakers who may have reservations about legalizing New York online casino gambling might have two worries.
- Pointing out that legalizing iGaming won’t interfere with the siting process underway for three Downstate New York retail casino licenses.
- Providing proof that legal New York online casino gambling won’t cannibalize brick-and-mortar casino revenue.
- Offering iGaming tax revenue, which , as a solution to the $600 million Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) budget shortfall. Analysts believe the 30.5% iGaming tax rate will generate at least $1 billion in 2024 if legalized in 2023.
Addabbo said all of that has to happen by Thursday, when the New York State Legislature will present its proposals to amend Hochul’s $227 billion budget. Lawmakers provide final budget approval in April.
iGaming Leaders Offered Suggestions
In addition to Addabbo’s suggestion to note that iGaming leaders believe legalizing New York online casino gambling won’t interfere with the retail casino licensing process, it might be important to emphasize that the selected commercial casino licensees may expect to partner with online casino operators on those licenses.
So said Howard Glaser, the global head of government affairs and legislative counsel at Light and Wonder (LNW).
He added that not legalizing New York online casino gambling will also put New York behind Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Those bordering states offer legal iGaming.
Matt King, CEO of Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG), said New York could surpass those states and the others – becoming the US online casino “epicenter.” Currently, US iGaming is about five years behind Europe, in terms of content, technology, and more.
Meanwhile, the comments from DraftKings and FanDuel leaders in the Jan. 31 hearing still loom, They said if nothing changes, they’ll have to cut back on New York online sportsbook spending because of the 51% tax rate.
According to Hochul, the sportsbooks generated $909 million in tax revenue and licensing fees during their first year of operation.