A day after winning reelection with 55% of the vote, state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. spoke with Bonus about his plans to ensure lawmakers discuss legalizing New York online casino and poker during 2023.
Ideally, the Democrat from Ozone Park said he would like to see bills legalizing iGaming included in the Fiscal Year 2024 New York State Executive Budget. If that doesn’t work out, Addabbo said he’ll make an effort to include legalization in the state budget that lawmakers will pass in April 2023.
Online gambling operators are watching New York online casino and poker legislation closely, because they believe the state may be the next one to legalize iGaming. Recently, Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen said New York and the Three Is – Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa – may be the next to legalize iGaming.
Entain owns half of BetMGM, along with MGM Resorts International. That app holds the plurality of the US online casino market share.
FY 2024 Executive Budget Precedes the State Budget
That executive budget deadline is coming up fast. For reference, Gov. Kathy C. Hochul released her FY 2023 New York State Executive Budget plans on Jan. 18, 2022.
So Addabbo will have to roll up his sleeves to get New York online casino and poker included in the FY 2024 Executive Budget. If history repeats itself, Hochul may announce that lengthy proposal in January 2023.
Fortunately for that timeline, Addabbo told Bonus today that he’s using the bill he sponsored on Feb. 24, 2022. The proposed legislation, S.8412, has a companion bill, A.9436, which is supported by Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon.
Addabbo told Bonus today:
That’s a starting point.
The advantage of attempting to include the proposed legislation in the executive budget is he’ll be able to talk to Hochul about her concerns. The bills can then be amended, he tells Bonus.
Both bills introduced during this year’s New York State Legislature session are sitting in committees.
New York Online Casino, Poker, Need to Consider Addiction
Addabbo thinks New Yorkers are already gambling online, either illegally through offshore casino sites or out of state on legal ones.
Addabbo told Bonus today:
If we go on the premise that New Yorkers are doing it anyway … the state’s losing billions of dollars.
He adds that legalizing online casino gambling isn’t just a fiscal concern. Introducing legal New York online casino and poker sites will help identify gamblers and aid any of them who are or may become addicted.
Bills to create the Problem Gambling Advisory Council (PGAC) await Hochul’s signature. The legislature passed S.409A and A.658A six months ago.
Addabbo said to Bonus today that discussions will help address those fears:
Those issues should not hamper us or stop us from safely regulating gambling in New York.
New York Online Casino, Poker, Are the Priorities
Addabbo says New York online casino and poker legalization are his priorities. However, discussions about the bills could mean lawmakers can revisit online sports betting.
Online sportsbooks launched in New York on Jan. 8, 2022.
As Addabbo noted on Oct. 27 on his New York State Senate page:
Since New York entered the mobile sports betting market back in January, we have collected over $1 billion in gross gaming revenue.
However, Addabbo tells Bonus today that he thinks lawmakers may want to consider lowering the 51% tax on online sportsbook operators.
What may help with that lowered tax rate is expanding the number of legal online sportsbooks in the state, he said. At the moment, nine operators offer legal sports betting.
Addabbo also suggests New York online sportsbooks add car racing and improve horse racing betting options, “only if it’s beneficial to the people of New York.”
“The picture becomes more clear in January,” Addabbo says, concluding today’s Bonus interview.