On Friday, New York Sen. Joe Addabbo supercharged the US online gambling world when he filed a new piece of legislation that would legalize online casinos in New York, with the potential of an estimated $1 billion in tax revenue for the state.
One prevalent gambling executive, however, has his doubts about the new bill’s chances at success.
Downstate casino licensing could take too much focus
In a LinkedIn comment posted Friday, Howard Glaser, Global Head of Government Affairs and Legislative Counsel at Light & Wonder, put the chances of NY online casinos getting legalized via Addabbo’s new bill at “less than 50%.”
“They are distracted by the clunky NYC casino expansion process,” Glaser commented on a LinkedIn post from PlayNY Content Manager Ian St. Clair, who reshared Glaser’s initial post about Addabbo’s new bill along with thoughts of his own. “State is not known for its bandwidth to handle multiple issues.”
The downstate New York casino licensing process has gone on for nearly three years now. We’re still waiting for the second round of questions and answers to be released. And the state hasn’t even begun to accept license applications yet.
Glaser: NY Legislature will need to find its own funding for new bill
Glaser, in his initial LinkedIn post about the bill, highlighted several concrete benefits of legalizing online casinos in New York and said the legislation “deserves a serious look from the Legislature.” He told St. Clair he does not believe New York Gov. Kathy Hocul will include funding for the bill in her 2024 budget, though, and that the Legislature would need to find the funding.
“They will want to spend more than she puts in budget,” Glaser wrote.
Addabbo’s bill, S8185, is similar to previous failed attempts to legalize online casinos. However, there are some key differences, including language regarding promotional deductions and online server requirements.
Online casinos would provide new stream of tax revenue
New York currently faces a $4.3 billion budget. And Gov. Hocul has consistently maintained her stance against raising taxes.
Beyond cutting government-funded programs, seeking new streams of tax revenue is another way for New York to dig itself out of its budget hole. And, again, estimates put tax from legal NY online casinos at about $1 billion annually.
“You have to look for revenue,” Addabbo said in an interview PlayNY in November. “Here’s new revenue in New York, certainly in terms of iGaming and iLottery. Estimates are about a billion dollars. So how the hell are they gonna sit back and not help people with an addiction, not recoup money that you’re already losing, and how long can you sit back?”