We are working on legislation to authorize igaming and iLottery in New York, and we are optimistic that this session, we can turn it into law. Two lawmakers who introduced legislation to legalize casino gaming and online poker in New York this year said they will try again in 2024.
They also said they believe 2024 will be the year that NY becomes the seventh US state with online poker and the eighth with online casino gaming. And that expanded igaming will make the state $1 billion a year.
“We are working on legislation to authorize igaming and iLottery in New York, and we are optimistic that this session, we can turn it into law,” Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) wrote in a joint opinion piece published Tuesday by City & State, a local media outlet.
“The bill [being developed] uses the same framework in place for mobile sports betting, allowing consumers to safely play in a legal and regulated market while generating a projected $1 billion annually for New York, above and beyond what the state already receives from mobile sports betting.”
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Addabbo is chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, while Pretlow chairs the Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering. Earlier this year, Addabbo introduced A1380, a bill that called for legalizing online poker, while Pretlow brought S4856, which called for launching online casino gaming, to the floor. Neither bill advanced.
In an exclusive interview in late October, Addabbo told Poker Industry PRO that he plans to either introduce a new bill or an amended version of S4856 in December and that it would call for legalizing online poker as well as online casino gaming and iLottery.
While the Empire State won’t be the first to legalize online poker, online casino, or iLottery, the lawmakers contend that “all reports” show six states (including three neighbors) with either offering “are seeing a net increase in tax revenue from these activities with no detrimental effects on brick-and-mortar businesses such as casinos and convenience stores that sell lottery tickets.”
As with mobile sports betting, a legal mobile gaming market allows us to prohibit underage players from accessing gaming platforms and provide resources and support for problem gaming — something the illegal market will never do The six states cited by the lawmakers were Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for online casinos, and Michigan, Illinois, and New Hampshire for iLottery. Online casino states include Delaware, Michigan, and West Virginia. Rhode Island legalized the vertical this year, but the market won’t launch until March 2024.
Meanwhile, online poker is currently legal in six states — Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — although it should be noted that there are no operators currently deployed in Connecticut or West Virginia — but, in the case of WV, that will likely change after the state joined a multi-state compact for poker last month.
Addabbo and Pretlow added that legalizing online poker, casino gaming, and iLottery would be better for consumers.
“As with mobile sports betting, a legal mobile gaming market allows us to prohibit underage players from accessing gaming platforms and provide resources and support for problem gaming — something the illegal market will never do,” the lawmakers wrote.
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Massive Budget Deficits At Hand
At a time of fiscal distress for our state, we cannot continue to allow hundreds of millions of dollars to be funneled into neighboring states or into the pockets of disreputable companies The lawmakers said massive budget deficits are just around the corner. Online casino gaming could help soften the blow.
With federal assistance from the pandemic ending, the Empire State faces “a looming budget deficit of great proportions,” Addabbo and Pretlow wrote.
“The state comptroller has pegged the deficit at $4.3 billion for next year and $8 billion for 2025. Solving it will require many difficult choices, but a good first step to beat the odds is right in front of us: we can double the substantial revenue we get from mobile sports betting through the legalization” of online casino gaming and iLottery.
“At a time of fiscal distress for our state, we cannot continue to allow hundreds of millions of dollars to be funneled into neighboring states or into the pockets of disreputable companies — particularly when those funds could be used to further bolster funding for public schools or other worthy services,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Now is the time for New York to invest in opportunities that will allow for big economic growth down the road, something we can hardly turn away from as the state faces an impending deficit.”