Online casino and lottery proposals are being crafted for the next legislative session and if all goes according to plan, New York will be adding virtual slots, table games, as well as the state lottery to their digital gambling menu.
Let’s Go Casino Joe
New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. was the leading proponent for mobile sports betting in the state and he is back in the ring to take another swing with the far more lucrative online casino wagering. This is the second time Addabbo will try to get his legislation off the ground after failing to do so last year.
“Yes, I will be introducing a bill by the end of the year in time for both the January session and the executive budget,” Addabbo said. “Prior to that, though, a lot of homework has to go into it. Getting feedback from those in the industry, whether it be from labor, the casino industry, what have you. We did the same thing with mobile sports betting, and it worked out great. And yes, while the final mobile sports betting bill and structure wasn’t the one myself and [Assemblyman] Gary Pretlow envisioned, about 65% of our vision got into the bill, and it turned out to be the number-one mobile sports betting product in the country.”
Big Bucks for New York
In addition to online casino gambling, Addabbo is also pushing an online lottery, and between the two there is plenty of revenue waiting to be collected by the state if his efforts are fruitful.
“It’s a budgetary item. Frankly, we’re in trouble. I’ll let the economists and state comptroller weigh in, but we’re in trouble fiscally without federal help,” Addabbo said. “You can’t cut your way out of a multi-billion-dollar deficit, can’t raise taxes to that extent, so you need new revenue. And iGaming and iLottery are doable. Other states are doing it and taking our money, and, let’s not kid ourselves, New Yorkers are doing this illegally as well.
“And if I hear my analysts in the industry correctly, we lose about a billion dollars a year. How long can we sit on the sidelines?”
Therefore, if Addabbo’s numbers are indeed correct then this new revenue stream is the cure for what currently ails New York’s economy. A billion-dollar annual deficit mitigated with one stroke of the governor’s pen should be appealing to Addabbo’s fellow legislators but there are always those who believe the societal cost might not be worth the fiscal profit.
Governor Kathy Hochul has not been warm to the idea and getting her to entertain the prospect of another piece of gaming legislation when negotiations for the three downstate retail casino licenses have continued to drag on is a tall task.
“It’s premature to know what the governor is thinking, but all I need is that she’ll explore it in the executive budget,” Addabbo said. “Just to open the door to dialogue and negotiation.”
As for the proposed tax rate on iGaming platform providers, Addabbo said he would propose the same 30% rate he advanced on sports betting. But that was ultimately increased to 51% and, those who do get on board with the state senator’s bill will likely vote to increase it as well.
“The bill will come in at 30%, but that’s what budget negotiations are all about,” Addabbo said.