An effort to legalize online casinos in New York has been reignited in the state capital of Albany.
New York lawmaker Joseph Addabbo (D) wants to legalize online casino gaming in the state. The state Senator says associated tax revenue from the expanded gaming could help bridge the state’s growing budget gap. (Image: New York State Senate)
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens) this week reintroduced Senate Bill 856. The statute seeks to authorize online casino gaming with interactive slot machines and table games. The measure also requests to permit online lottery games and to allow New Yorkers to purchase Powerball and Mega Millions tickets via the internet.
SB856 is the same bill that Addabbo filed during the state’s 2023 legislative session. The bill, if approved and signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), would join New York with six other states that have legal, regulated online casinos. Those states are Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Rhode Island will become the seventh when its iGaming market goes live in April.
Addabbo’s bill, as currently written, would allow the state’s commercial and Tribal casinos, racinos, and online sportsbooks to apply for iGaming privileges. Three entities consisting of at least 5% minority ownership would also be welcome to apply.
Licenses would cost $2 million and associated iGaming win would be subject to an effective tax of 30.5%. That money would be deposited into the state Lottery Fund, which primarily benefits education.
State Budget Problem
Addabbo is a champion for the state gaming industry in New York.
The chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, Addabbo supported the state’s 2013 bill that legalized four upstate casinos and three downstate. Addabbo was also the author of the state’s 2019 sports betting bill that legalized sports gambling in person and online.
Addabbo wants to further expand gambling in the Empire State to include online casinos. He reasons that iGaming would deliver considerably more economic and tax benefits than what sports betting has ushered in.
As we prepare to enter a new legislative session with COVID-era funding from the federal government expiring, we face a looming budget deficit of great proportions. 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 the pockets of disreputable [offshore casino] companies — particularly when those funds could be used to further bolster funding for public schools or other worthy services,” Addabbo wrote in a City & State op-ed last month.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has pegged the state deficit at $4.3 billion for 2024. He expects the deficit to balloon to $8 billion in 2025.
State fiscal estimates project that New York could reap over $1 billion annually in new tax revenue by legalizing iGaming. Addabbo believes online gaming and lottery sales wouldn’t negatively impact brick-and-mortar casinos or physical lottery retailers.
All reports indicate that these states 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,” Addabbo said.
Whether there’s an adequate appetite for more gaming in Albany isn’t clear. New York this year is expected to issue the three downstate casino licenses, which will transform the New York City region in the coming years with new entertainment and tourism offerings.
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