Resorts World New York Staffers Decry iGaming Legislation

Estimated read time 4 min read

Cash-strapped New York is looking for new revenue sources with iGaming getting plenty of attention, but that doesn’t sit well with employees at Resorts World New York in Queens.

New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo meets with constituents in his Queens district. New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo meets with constituents in his Queens district. Workers at Resorts World New York oppose his iGaming bill. (Image: Sen. Joseph Addabbo/Facebook) 

The push for internet casinos in New York is led by State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Queens) who chairs the Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering and represents a portion of the borough that’s home to the Resorts World racino. After similar legislation faltered last March, Addabbo reintroduced Senate Bill 856 (SB 856) last month, drawing the ire of Resorts World New York staffers along the way. Nearly 700 of those workers recently ripped the bill, saying iGaming puts their jobs at risk.

We find it appalling that you are pushing legislation that would hurt workers like us and our industry in order to benefit a handful of companies who are seeking massive profits at our expense,” according a letter penned by members of the Hotel & Gaming Trades Council union — one of the most powerful organized labor groups in New York.

Bhav Tibrewal, political director of the union, said the group has consistently opposed iGaming legislation in New York and told the New York Post that it’s time to pressure Addabbo and other policymakers in the Democrat-run state to give up on internet casinos.

Gaming Expansion Centerpiece of New York Revenue Efforts

Since the state enacted some of the most punitive coronavirus pandemic measures, New York has bled population, including the loss of scores affluent individuals and big companies that were previously major contributors to the state’s income tax collections.

Now, the fourth-largest US state is faced with dilemmas regarding how to replace lost government receipts while finding new revenue opportunities. Gaming has been a centerpiece of those efforts. Mobile sports betting launched there in January 2022 and that’s paid dividends for the state because it’s now tops in the nation in terms of handle while enforcing a 51% tax — the highest in the country.

Additionally, the state is expected to award three downstate casino permits later this year or in 2025. That process will generate bidding fees and licensing costs of up to $1 billion per winning bidder and that’s before the venues start generating income and sales tax for the state. iGaming jibes with those efforts, but Resorts World New York isn’t taking the matter lying down.

“We know that if, instead, they were to game from their homes, workplaces, or elsewhere, their dollars would go straight into the pockets of gaming companies, rather than to support the livelihoods of thousands of New Yorkers who support the state’s gaming industry,” according to the union letter.

iGaming Companies Back Addabbo

As is usually the case in politics, money talks and on that note, Addabbo has received $77,100 in campaign donations from iGaming operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

He views iGaming in New York as a matter of “when” not “if,” noting that neighboring Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are three of the six states that currently permit online casinos. Addabbo told the Post that iGaming could generate $800 million to $1 billion annually for the state.

As for Resorts World New York opposing iGaming, there’s merit in their claims. It’s also interesting that the those workers have, to this point, been mum about the potential for another land-based casino to eventually call Queens home.

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