New York online casino legalization may not happen in 2023, says S4856‘s sponsor. State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.‘s office told Bonus on March 13 that the measure probably won’t make it into the budget lawmakers are discussing. Bills that are included in the $227 billion state budget tend to become law.
Addabbo’s press secretary, Anthony Giudice, updated Bonus today:
I heard from Senator Addabbo while he is up in Albany this morning that iGaming is probably not going to be in the Senate one-house budget. I’ll continue to monitor the issue during the year.’
That update may mean Addabbo will once again take on the role of legal gambling expansion educator, which he did after his online casino and poker measure failed in 2022.
S4856 calls for a 30.5% tax rate on online casino operators. Analysts estimated it would bring $1 billion into state coffers.
However, there is an outside chance that lawmakers will pass S4856 or its Assembly counterpart, A3634, before the New York State Legislature adjourns in April. Although Addabbo told iGaming leaders on March 7 that he and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, who sponsored A3634, won’t push for their passage if they don’t make it into the budget.
Addabbo, D-Ozone Park, told online gambling representatives during a roundtable discussion on March 7 that the bill needed to be included in the budget by March 9. That “one-house” deadline would incorporate lawmakers’ amendments to Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul‘s executive budget that she announced on Feb. 1.
Although the New York online casino legalization efforts made it past the March 9 deadline, they may have died today, according to Addabbo’s statement.
It may be March 14, but iGaming didn’t get a piece of the pie. Bonus just reviewed the Assembly’s amendments to Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul‘s budget, and New York online casino, poker, and iLottery legalization aren’t in there.
A Senate session is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.
New York Online Casino Legalization Faced Pessimism
Passage during 2023 may have been an optimistic goal.
While New York online sports betting launched on Jan. 8, 2022, and the process to award three Downstate New York retail casino licenses is ongoing, attitudes toward New York online casino legalization have been somewhat negative. Online gambling insiders such as BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt believed cannibalization worries from brick-and-mortar gambling establishments would prevent passage.
It’s not an uncommon belief, despite repeated reassurances from iGaming advocates that online casino gambling not only doesn’t cannibalize physical casino revenue, but it also adds to it.
For instance, a Jan. 17 Fiscal Impact Statement from the Legislative Services Agency may have spelled doom for the Indiana online casino legalization effort.
Indiana’s HB1536 died in committee on Feb. 21 with the statement attached to it, which had this bullet point:
Online casino games will displace some gambling activities occurring at brick-and-mortar casinos. Studies have concluded that up to 30% of new online gaming revenues are displaced from existing casino revenues. This figure could be higher for a saturated market like Indiana.
Meanwhile, SB104 remains alive in New Hampshire, with one such objection in its history. Former New Hampshire Sen. Peter Bragdon raised the specter of cannibalization on behalf of Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI).
Bonus requested comments from Pretlow and a few online gambling leaders today, but got no responses on the record.
Legislators are scheduled to reconvene at 3 p.m. on Wednesday in Albany.