NY Sports Betting Advocate Eyes iGaming Progress In 2024

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NY sports betting

State Sen. Joe Addabbo believes adding revenue from online casino gaming in addition to NY sports betting is a necessity given the Empire State’s budget deficit. 

Prior to introducing a 2024 online casino gaming bill, Addabbo has been reaching out to interested parties including operators, administrators, union officials, and tribes to get feedback. 

Addabbo meets with NYHTC

Last week, Addabbo met with the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council (NYHTC), which opposed legislation last session. 

“It’s not a want-to-do anymore. I believe it’s getting to a point of need to do this given the fiscal situation,” Addabbo, who also advocated for New York sports betting, told LSR

“Without any help from the federal government or any kind of stimulus money left, without dipping into our reserves or without drastic, major cuts to services. We’ve got people leaving the state to do it, we’ve got an illegal market, we can’t help these people if they have an addiction, we’re losing about $1 billion a year. We need to do this.”

Potential online casino gaming money

Gov. Kathy Hochul has mentioned a $4.3 billion budget gap for next year. 

Legislative leadership and, most of all, Hochul will need to be on-board to gain any traction on online casino gaming this session. 

“I will try my best to address the concerns of protecting the current workforce of our brick-and-mortar (casinos). And looking to improve upon and increase those numbers, increasing additional union jobs with live dealers. I will try my best to address the issues,” Addabbo said. 

“But the bottom line is we’re being suffocated by other states, and the illegal market. And I don’t know of any governor who would want that to continue to happen. I don’t know what governor would want to see $1 billion being lost to other states and the illegal market. What governor would not want to create jobs and revenue? And that revenue again is unspoken for, so it could go to education or healthcare or transportation or any other need. I think the time is right for iGaming.” 

New York sports betting and casino

The HGTC has had concerns about cannabalization for its brick-and-mortar membership. Addabbo has considered a fund of around $25 million in the bill to aid those workers. 

New York is also going through the slow and arduous process of awarding licenses for up to three downstate casinos. More meetings are in store this year.

“Whenever you have a discussion, whether it be with somebody from the administration, or an operator, or a union, any kind of discussion is usually a good starting point at least,” Addabbo said. “It’s a good starting point. (You) get to know each other’s position, getting to know what we may need to address, if not now certainly going forward, so it’s a good starting point.”