New York Online Casino 2023 Discussions Unharmed by Anti-Bonus Bill, Addabbo Says

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New York online casino legalization talks will continue unscathed by a state Senate bill introduced on Wednesday, state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. just told Bonus in a phone interview.

S9605 proposes additional oversight of online sportsbook bonus practices. If anything, Addabbo said the news Bonus broke on Wednesday and others published today will alert New Yorkers to the safeguards already in place to protect online gamblers.

Addabbo, D-Ozone Park, talked to Bonus today. He said of the bill sponsored by state Sen. Peter B. Harckham, D-Lewisboro:

In my opinion, it raises awareness.

He said Harckham’s proposed amendment to New York gambling law will highlight the work already done to protect New York sports bettors. That happened before the marketplace launched on Jan. 8.

The mobile sports betting law includes guidelines for gamblers to self-exclude and more.

Addabbo said to Bonus this afternoon:

Let’s make sure that it’s being implemented correctly.

Harckham Is Bringing Needed Attention to Online Gambling

Harckham said in his bill’s justification that he was reacting to Nov. 20 New York Times coverage of US online gambling. So he’s seeking to amend the “racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law.”

His proposal calls for the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) “to promulgate rules and regulations regarding predatory sportsbook bonuses in mobile sports betting.”

Addabbo said to Bonus today that online sports betting bonuses are already regulated. He added that New York online casino legalization will do so, as well.

However, he hopes Harckham’s proposal means the “painstaking” efforts to craft the iGaming bill will involve more interested stakeholders.

Addabbo plans to push for New York online casino legalization in 2023.

New York Online Casino Discussions May Benefit

Because of Harckham’s concern about online sports betting, Addabbo told Bonus he thinks the New York State Legislature will have a “more robust, more intensified discussion on” safeguards for online gamblers that include prevention and treating addiction.

While he’s proud of his team’s work on online sportsbook regulation, Addabbo tells Bonus today that he spoke with Harckham yesterday about sitting down and reviewing how well the law is working.

Addabbo tells Bonus today:

We should evaluate that.

He’d already had the discussion in mind, as a backdrop for moving forward to legalize New York online casino gambling.

Addabbo said to Bonus today that he and his legislative director will sit down with Harckham to discuss the legislation he proposed on Wednesday.

He added:

A bill like that obviously leaves a lot of room for putting in the details.

Harckham’s proposal is one page long.

How 2023 iGaming Talks May Look

Before lawmakers can move ahead to work on New York online casino legalization, Addabbo told Bonus they need to talk to Harckham about his Wednesday proposal.

Then legislators also need to sit down and review the current sports betting law, including whether its $6 million set aside for problem gamblers is enough.

With Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, Addabbo’s counterpart in the House who spearheaded mobile sports betting legalization, Addabbo said he’d like to see as many stakeholders in the review as possible.

Next, Addabbo said, those same stakeholders can help craft the New York online casino bill. In particular due to Harckham’s proposal, Addabbo told Bonus today that he wants to ensure the $11 million for problem gambling in the current iGaming bill is adequate.

Addabbo emphasized that legal online gambling in New York prevents many situations that concern Harckham. Because New York regulation means that the state’s gamblers are less likely to be using the illegal, offshore sites they are now. Or, if they are gambling online legally, their online casino bets reside in other states right now.

He told Bonus about New Yorkers gambling on casino apps:

If my friends had an addiction, I would not know about it.

Addabbo, Harckham Are Surprised Bill Is News

“So senator Harckham called me yesterday,” Addabbo said as an introduction during today’s call to Bonus.

Addabbo told Bonus Harckham was surprised the bill he introduced on Wednesday got attention.

That’s because “all bills” introduced before January, when the legislature reconvenes, need to be reintroduced then, Addabbo told Bonus.

For that reason, New York online casino legislation needs to be reintroduced in 2023, even though Addabbo’s been sponsoring bills for years.

So did Harckham’s proposal and Times coverage hurt New York online casino legalization’s chances?

“Nope,” Addabbo told Bonus today. “I don’t think so.”

About the Author
Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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