Sen. Addabbo Sees 2021 As Gaming Win For NY Despite Cuomo Administration

Written By Mike Mazzeo on December 21, 2021

New York State Sen. Joe Addabbo is satisfied with his team’s progress this year.

NY online sports betting appears close to launching in early 2022. Addabbo reiterates his hope that first bets will be made during the NFL playoffs in January, with the Feb. 13 Super Bowl serving as the first benchmark for the state.

Addabbo, who plans to speak again soon with New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) executive director Robert Williams, said:

“From everything I’m seeing and hearing, things are going well.”

The NYSGC’s request for information on the three downstate casino licenses — expedited from 2023 to 2022 — has also produced strong responses from interested parties.

Addabbo spoke to on Monday:

“To deal with the (former Gov. Andrew) Cuomo administration at the time and get what we got gaming-wise, I see it as a huge win.”

Addabbo congratulated his team in Albany recently for all their gains.

Omicron and NY sports betting launch

A worst-case scenario for NY is a January online sports launch marred by NBA and NHL game cancellations and NFL game delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Omicron variant.

On Monday, the NFL placed a single-day record of 47 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Brooklyn Nets even decided — in an abrupt about-face that went against everything they purported to stand for — to allow anti-vaxxer Kyrie Irving to rejoin their team for road games because they had so many players out due to health-and-safety protocols. Irving — in a surprise to exactly no one — found himself in health-and-safety protocols due to a positive test shortly thereafter.

Addabbo said:

“(The pandemic) could affect the whole success of mobile sports betting. All you have to do is look at New Jersey, and their numbers obviously took a major hit when sports were not around (last year).

“You really don’t want (another prolonged stoppage). Between the jobs lost, the economic losses, listen I fear and I pray that it doesn’t go in that direction.”

Sen. Addabbo’s goals for 2022 legislative session

NY’s state legislative session begins on Jan. 5, and Addabbo has three main items on his agenda:

  • Passing a bill to allow fixed-odds horse racing on NY online sports betting apps. And allow kiosks at stadiums, arenas and tracks in the state.
  • Getting the state to consider online casino gaming in NY. Addabbo said:

“We’re going backward with COVID. People are going to have this apprehension about going back to brick-and-mortar (casinos). We want to protect (the casinos) because of the jobs they provide, but I think we need to look into online poker and roulette, with all technology and safety measures we can put into place. I think it’s a missed opportunity for the state in terms of revenue, educational funds and more jobs to an extent.”

  • Awarding the three downstate casino licenses. Addabbo said:

“If we were to assume that (existing video lottery terminals) Resorts World NYC and Empire City-MGM each get a license because of their speed to market and that they can operator right away, that leaves one more.

“And where it winds up location-wise should not hamper us from getting the $2 billion (combined) upfront in license fees. Because it’s going to take that third winner three to four years to negotiate a site with the local municipalities and get a property built.”

Sen. Addabbo weighs in on Assemb. Pretlow’s goals

In a recent interview with City and State, NY Assemblyman Gary Pretlow said he planned to introduce legislation so that the nine sports betting operators who agreed to pay the 51% tax rateFanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Bally’s, Caesars, PointsBet, WynnBet, BetRivers and Resorts World — could not come back to policymakers a year later and attempt to change the deal.

Addabbo said:

“I haven’t spoken with Gary about that. It’s always a concern to an extent. I think Gary might’ve been harkening back to the fact that the brick-and-mortar casinos just asked for a tax reduction. We’ll see. I think there’s a lot of evaluating that needs to go on. We really won’t get a clear indication on everything until six-eight months down the road.”

Pretlow was also asked where potential corporations could build a casino in Manhattan. “Nowhere,” he responded. “I think all the city legislators are opposed to having a full-fledged casino in the borough of Manhattan. So that’s really off the table, as is Brooklyn.”

“I don’t know if you need a casino in Manhattan,” Addabbo said. “Casinos go where you need them to make an economic impact (Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Upstate NY). Manhattan has its own economic generator going between Broadway and everything else. So you look elsewhere. But if it was to be Manhattan, we can figure it out. I don’t think you can just exclude it, because statutorily Manhattan is part of the Southern Tier.”

Sen. Addabbo looks forward to working with Hochul Administration

This will be NY Gov. Kathy Hochul’s first legislative/budget session after taking over for Andrew Cuomo. Addabbo is optimistic about the change in leadership.

“I have a lot of faith and confidence in the Hochul Administration,” Addabbo said. “This is an administration that was built on professionalism, knows how to negotiate, is not confrontational, is willing to talk and discuss matters that benefit the people of this state.

“I am very positive and optimistic about how we go forward with the Hochul Administration entering the budget. The pieces are in place to really navigate this COVID pandemic and see the light at the end of the tunnel for the people of this state.”

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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