Operator Coalition Makes Ad Pitch for NY Online Casino Operator Coalition Makes Ad Pitch for NY Online Casino

By letting people play casino games online, we can decrease deficits and help our families and schools.

Some of the biggest gaming operators in the US want lawmakers in New York to pass online casino legislation this year and have produced a commercial to get their point across.

BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, and FanDuel — the four members that form the Sports Betting Alliance (SBA) — produced the 30-second spot and uploaded it to YouTube on January 2 as part of their “Bet on NY” campaign.

Supporters of expanded igaming in New York plan to introduce legislation again during the 2024 session, and have said that any online casino bill will also include verbiage to authorize online poker. The bill would likely also allow multi-state poker.

“New York faces dangerous deficits, and there’s an affordability crisis across the state,” the 30-second advert begins. “Life’s already hard enough for people without raising taxes or cutting services.”

“But there’s a better way to begin addressing this problem. Neighboring states authorized igaming, creating billions in taxable revenue. By letting people play casino games online, we can decrease deficits and help our families and schools.”

“Let’s bring igaming to New York,” the ad concludes, with the words “Learn more at BetOnNY.com.”

The video had only received 44 views by mid-day Wednesday, but that number is sure to increase substantially once the spot begins airing on television or online — assuming those portions of the ad campaign by the SBA have yet to start.

Another $1 Billion Possible

For the eagle-eyed observer, the advertisement provided a lot of information about New York’s current status and how much the state would benefit from expanded igaming.

The advertisement cited:

  • Figures from the NYS Division of Budget that said the state’s out-year (meaning future) deficit would grow to more than $21.5 billion over three years
  • New York’s rank as the country’s “least affordable state” in a survey by WalletHub
  • A poll of New Yorkers conducted by Politico last November that found 85% of respondents oppose raising taxes and 82% are against cutting services

SBA pointed out that three of New York’s neighbors — Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — had generated a combined $6 billion in taxable revenue in 2022. The ad also included a forecast that New York would make more than $1 billion in revenue annually from igaming.

Supporters of expanded igaming, including Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon), frequently cite the $1 billion figure. The last time was for a joint opinion piece published last month in City & State.

Special Meaning for BetMGM

Only one member of the SBA, BetMGM, has an online poker platform, so the advertising campaign in New York has special meaning.

If New York online poker were to be authorized along with casino gaming, it would be an enormous market with nearly 20 million residents. BetMGM would surely want a piece.

How BetMGM would gain access for online poker remains to be seen. The operator is already live in the Empire State with mobile sports betting, but it’s not tethered to a land-based casino.

It’s possible that New York lawmakers may ultimately decide that for online casino, operators must partner with a land-based casino. But if they go that route, BetMGM is covered — it would likely partner with Empire City Casino, a racino in Yonkers owned by MGM Resorts International. MGM owns half of BetMGM (Entain owns the other half).

SBA appears united on getting online casino passed. It was a different story last spring when the alliance said its members wouldn’t participate in sports betting in Maine.

After citing the small size of the market and coming out against operators receiving just 30% of gross gaming revenue (although they could request 40%), DraftKings changed its mind and jumped into Maine for sports betting last November.