2024 NY Senate Budget Won’t Include iGaming As Efforts Hit ‘Holding Pattern’

Written By Grant Lucas on March 7, 2024 - Last Updated on March 8, 2024
Sen. Joseph Addabbo in front of Manhattan skyline for a story on NY online casinos not being included in Senate budget

If online casinos have any hope of legalization in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul will need to play a more prominent role.

At least that’s according to Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who spoke at the NEXT Summit New York conference in Manhattan.

But until that happens, if even Hochul steps in to help push Addabbo’s legislation forward or recognize that the Empire State in fact needs more tax revenue, Addabbo said legislative efforts to legalize online casinos in NY will remain in a “holding pattern.” As a result, legislation to legalize iGaming is not being considered. For now.

“It’s out of the budget,” Addabbo told PlayUSA after the panel, “but that doesn’t mean we cannot resume that conversation in June or December. It materializes at any point.”

Odds not looking good for 2024 legalization of online casinos

Addabbo went into 2024 with much optimism for this being the year the state finally legalizes online casinos. The senator introduced his bill in early January. Just days later, many saw a red flag as Hochul did not included revenue from iGaming in her Executive Budget.

But Addabbo, as he always does, maintained a positive outlook. Especially with Hochul as governor, who, unlike previous leadership, has frequently shown support for legal gambling expansion. At the time, Addabbo told PlayNY, there still remains time for Hochul to consider NY online casinos, “and I think rational thought would dictate that we do at least have these conversations and consider iGaming.”

Addabbo had set a timeline of sorts that iGaming would not be included in the Senate budget proposal if Hochul didn’t support legislation by this time. New York legislators have a deadline of April 1 to finalize the 2024-25 Fiscal Year budget.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Addabbo is throwing in the towel completely for 2024. He told PlayUSA that iGaming legalization “can happen at any point when the need arises and the initiative to do it arises,” adding that “it could happen any time.

“I’ve been around so long that I never say never. But right now we’re in a holding pattern. I’m there to talk about it if anyone wants to talk about it.”

New Jersey director provides evidence against cannibalization

So long as Hochul sits as governor, prospects for legalizing online casinos in New York will always hold better odds for Addabbo. After all, iGaming could generate upward of $1 billion in annual state tax revenue.

But Addabbo and his cohorts can only do so much. Hochul needs to step in to help push it across the finish line.

“It needs to be navigated by the governor, in my opinion,” Addabbo said.

Certainly easier said than done, especially considering the major hurdle standing in iGaming’s way.

The New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, which represents over 5,000 gaming workers in the state, has strongly opposed legalization, calling any legislation to do so “a job killer.” Similarly, Resorts World NYC, which resides in Addabbo’s district, penned a letter noting that NY online casinos “would hurt workers like us and our industry in order to benefit a handful of companies who are seeking massive profits at our expense.”

Speaking alongside Addabbo at the NEXT Summit, David Rebuck, the outgoing director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, noted that the Garden State tied iGaming to land-based casinos. And according to Rebuck, online gambling “hasn’t caused any job losses since its launch in 2013. Furthermore, live-dealer games require flesh-and-blood employees and have proven popular with players.”

For his part, as he has long done, Addabbo remained optimistic. Certainly New York will soon join the ranks of states offering legal online casinos. Perhaps even in 2025, when the Empire State could face a budget deficit exceeding $9 billion.

“There is no hurdle too big,” Addabbo said, “to advance iGaming in NY.”

Photo by PlayNY
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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