If there’s one thing that’s certain, you’re never short of anything shockingin the state of New York, and with the big apple’s iGaming hopes and dreams standing on the precipice, today we’ll be looking at what’s been going on so far, and what we could possibly expect ahead.
It’s no secret that NYC’s upstate casinos are already struggling, and in the past couple of weeks, there’s been a new Senate Bill has been introduced by Joseph Addabbo, State Senator, which could potentially legalize online gambling in the Empire State. The main difference from last year’s bill being the inclusion of ilottery. Bill S8185l marks Addabbo’s most recent effort at drawing focus to iGaming after Bill S4856 already fizzled out in 2023.
However, this is certainly not the first time that a US state spends years debating whether a particular category of online gambling should be legalized. According to leading marketing affiliate site specializing in US no deposit bonuses, NoDepositBonus.guide,
“The US is a complex jurisdiction, no doubt, because there are many gray areas, since each state is governed by its own set of laws and regulatory bodies. Therefore, it’s not as clear cut as dealing with smaller countries. However, history has taught us that when a state did eventually legalize iGaming, the financial benefits reaped had far outweighed previous hurdles and hoops jumped!”.
Why are we sitting here contemplating whether iGaming should make its way into New York you might be wondering? According Light & Wonder’s Chief of Government Affairs & Legislative Council Howard Glaser, New York could literally be the next best thing when it comes to online gambling. He also mentioned how if iGaming was taken up by the state of New York, it would have the potential to become one of the highest grossing markets in the world. He also pointed out that NYC is currently home to a population of 20 million, 14 million of which are adults, and referred to the fact that this demographic is highly suited for the industry to thrive.
In this regard, Glaser also pointed out how similar iGaming frameworks have already been adopted by other states with great success, mentioning models such as the ones implemented in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, describing them as “extraordinarily successful”.
So why all the stumbling blocks you might be asking yourself? According to Glaser, even though this legislature has already been proven successful in other states, the challenge here lies in solving politics as is common with other US states, while also referring to a number of other internal and external issues the industry is currently facing.
Glaser also mentioned that the latest bill is being introduced for the second consecutive year, with minor changes included in the latest revision. At this point everyone’s left to wonder whether it’s relevant to keep this conversation alive or whether it makes more sense “to get another significant US state in play”.
Also referring to the bill as a start of the conversation, Addabbo went on to describe how these negotiations will outline the parameters he originally had in mind, while remarking that he also hoped his counterparts in the assembly would also agree. If this bill had to go through, there would be a 30.50% tax rate involved, along with a USD 25 million fund intended for the protection of jobs in current casinos, as well as a USD 11 million fund dedicated to responsible gaming support, including ilottery.
Addabbo pointed out that the new bill represents an improvement on the previous version. “The bill does include ilottery… [as well as] a 25-million-dollar fund to protect jobs,” strongly emphasizing that online gaming should not be regarded as a threat to those employed in land-based casinos.
On the other hand, State Governor Kathy Hochul omitted iGaming from the state’s FY25 budget completely, which came as no surprise to Glaser. “This is the game they play,” he noted while also pointing out that this sort of behavior is one that is not only seen in New York, but also in other states.
Of course, it would have suited Addabbo better had iGaming been included in this year’s budget, but this doesn’t seem to be dampening his spirit for the time being. Instead, he’s keeping his eye out on the executive budget that will give us a better idea “what direction Hochul wants our state going”. He also noted that budgets offer a framework for a larger scope, and he had full intention of making the first quarter all about budget negotiating.
Even though there appear to be a couple of issues that lie ahead, the NYC’s iGaming dream is still a realistic possibility for the future. It’s important to keep in mind that this concept is still in its infancy as Glaser rightly pointed out. “We’re just at the very first inning of the process” he noted, while explaining that the governor is just about to kick it off, carrying on with the sports euphemism. He also noted that if iGaming had to make its way into this year’s budget, then it would just be a matter of getting it signed off.
Glaser also mentioned issues with the state’s labor unions, which have been provided for in the latest revision to the bill. The new version includes a clause that requires operators running live dealer games to be in agreeance with a union labor deal to qualify for the interactive gaming license.
“Unions are concerned about the impact on their members in land-based casinos,” Glaser pointed out, while highlighting the importance of having land-based casinos on their side rather than creating competition. He also mentioned that in today’s highly competitive digital age, land-based casinos are missing out on this critical component.
New York’s iGaming journey has been wildly unpredictable so far, but the city that never sleeps wouldn’t have it any other way. The good news is that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel, just when and where is currently unknown and there’s only one way to find out.