A new bill seeking to legalize iGaming in New York will be filed, perhaps as soon as next week, according to state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who spoke to NYCasinos.com on Friday evening.
This week marked the return of the New York Legislature to Albany for its 2024 session. On Wednesday, Addabbo’s iGaming bill from last year was revived and referred to the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, which the Queens Democrat chairs. However, on Friday, Addabbo pulled that bill.
“The newer bill will have different elements,” he said.
Long a supporter of New York online casinos, Addabbo is optimistic he can move the conversation forward this year, even as New York still seeks to award up to three licenses for brick-and-mortar casinos in the downstate region. The reason for that is the fact that the state is facing the possibility of multi-billion-dollar budget deficits in the coming years. Addabbo believes the state could generate more than $1 billion in revenue – money currently going to Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, neighboring states that have iGaming, and offshore operators who are not licensed or taxed in New York.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has pledged not to raise taxes in her next budget proposal, but it’s unlikely she’ll consider adding online casinos to her plan. That doesn’t necessarily doom Addabbo’s proposal, but it will mean he and other lawmakers will need to win her over in the coming months during budget negotiations.
“I think this is a good year to do this, building off the success of mobile sports betting,” he said.
The state is supposed to pass its budget by April 1, the start of the new fiscal year. However, those talks tend to run beyond the deadline.
Meeting with Labor
In recent weeks, Addabbo has met with key stakeholders to promote his plan. He’s also met with labor leaders, who have raised concerns that iGaming would threaten existing union jobs at brick-and-mortar casinos.
The senator and other proponents have pointed to studies in other states showing that iGaming does not cannibalize existing options but complements the in-person product.
The new bill likely will include updates based on stakeholder feedback.
Besides legalizing online casinos, Addabbo’s bill will also include a provision to allow the New York State Lottery to offer its games online.
NYCasinos.com will continue to monitor the iGaming debate in Albany and other developments impacting the state’s gaming industry, as well as provide information on NY casino bonuses.