“Yes!!!!!” state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. said he will continue to push for legal New York online casino, poker, and iLottery via SB8185. He told Bonus on Jan. 17 that he would do so despite his bill not being included in the executive budget published on Jan. 16.
His affirmation with five exclamation points confirms that Addabbo, D-Woodhaven, wants to see New York add iGaming.
However, he’d told Bonus on Jan. 8 that his priority in this year’s effort to legalize online casino gambling, poker, and iLottery was gaining buy-in from Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul, fellow lawmakers, and union representatives, among others.
On Jan. 16, Hochul published the FY2025 NYS Executive Budget. Spending for Fiscal Year 2025 is slated to total $232.7 billion.
Hochul’s budget didn’t include SB8185.
Addabbo didn’t sound discouraged by that omission when he answered a question from Bonus on Jan. 17:
Bonus: Do you plan to continue advocating for your online casino bill now that it’s not in Hochul’s budget?
However, Addabbo told Bonus on Jan. 8 that he may stop his legal gambling expansion advocacy in April if lawmakers don’t include the bill in the state budget. He said he can’t be the only one pushing for iGaming.
Meanwhile, the legislation proposed on Jan. 11 by the chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee is the center of an iGaming industry marketing campaign. Bet on NY asks New Yorkers to send messages to their elected officials urging them to approve legal New York online casino gambling.
The campaign’s website shows it’s funded by the Sports Betting Alliance (SBA). That organization’s members include BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics Sportsbook, and FanDuel. Those online gambling operators offer legal online sports betting in New York.
The Case for Legal New York Online Casino
Analysts tell him that legalizing iGaming can generate $1 billion annually for New York coffers, Addabbo told Bonus on Jan. 8.
Considering the Empire State is facing a budget deficit, those tax dollars could mean the difference between raising taxes on New Yorkers or cutting services. Addabbo told Bonus he and Hochul don’t want to do either of the latter.
So, approving the iGaming bill would enact a 30.5% tax rate on up to 20 operators who pay a $2 million license fee.
Addabbo has said legal New York online casino gambling would bring in dollars faster than the three downstate New York retail casino licenses.
Downstate Retail Casino Licenses
In last year’s executive budget, Hochul mentioned funds from three downstate retail casino licenses possibly stemming the budget shortfall of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
This year’s budget only includes the history of that wish to help the MTA.
Hochul’s proposed 2025 budget says this didn’t happen in 2024:
Dedicating $1.5 billion in licensing fees if three downstate casino licenses are awarded, and a share of an estimated $231 to $413 million in incremental annual tax revenue from the casinos for MTA operations.
That’s because the process of picking those licensees began on Jan. 3, 2023, and it’s still going.
As of Jan. 17, 2024, the body appointed by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) to recommend its choices of licensees to approve hasn’t yet formally requested applications for those licenses.
That means even those licensing fees may not enter state coffers until months from now, at best.
So Addabbo may emphasize that fact in discussions about his iGaming bill.