In Election Year, Sen. Addabbo Has ‘Unfinished Business’ With New York Legal Gambling

Written By Mike Mazzeo on May 23, 2022 - Last Updated on May 27, 2022

Sen. Joe Addabbo says he has unfinished business on the gaming front. 

Whether Addabbo gets his chance depends on New York voters. 

Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), the chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, plans to run in District 15 in the upcoming election. 

He has played a significant role in advocating for the launch of legal online sports betting in NY. Addabbo and counterpart Assemb. Gary Pretlow also advocated for the acceleration of three downstate NY casino licenses. 

Breaking down upcoming NY election

New York Senate primaries will take place on Aug. 23, while the general election is Nov. 8. If Addabbo wins, he plans to make legal NY online casino gaming the featured item for next year’s NYS budget. 

Some people close to Addabbo, 58, have told him that it might be time to think about his next chapter — perhaps returning to practice law or become a lobbyist. But his only focus is on continuing in his current role

“My passion right now is still to be a public servant, an elected official to help people and take care of the unfitted business gamingwise,” Addabbo told PlayNY over the weekend. 

The New York Court of Appeals last month struck down a map drawn by the legislature that, according to the court, favored Democrats and didn’t adhere to a predetermined and independent redistricting process. As a result, a court-appointed individual reconfigured the districts.

Addabbo had sent a letter to the court requesting that Howard Beach not be separated into three different districts, but his request went for naught. 

The new NY congressional maps were supposed to be released earlier Friday evening but came out just after midnight. 

“It is what it is,” Addabbo said. “I’ve always told my staff you prepare for the worst and hope for the best. You’re dealt a hand of cards, and now we’re going to play them. It’s a road to victory in the 15th District, and I know what I have to do.” 

There has been speculation that fellow veteran Sen. Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) could also elect to run in District 15 following the redistricting. But a spokesman for Stavisky on Saturday said she was still evaluating how to proceed. The Republican candidate in District 15 is Danniel Maio. 

Addabbo’s district wouldn’t include Resorts World

Parts of Howard Beach ended up in the 10th District (Sen. James Sanders) and the 19th District (Sen. Roxanne Persaud).  As it stands, District 15 covers the Lindenwood Park section of Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Rego Park, Forest Hills and Richmond Hill. 

The redistricting means that — should he retain his seat — video lottery terminal (VLT) Resorts World NYC will no longer be in Addabbo’s district. Resorts World is currently looking to obtain one of three downstate NY full-scale casino licenses. 

Read More: Challenges Aplenty: Where Could Third Downstate New York Casino License Go?

Addabbo said he still plans to lend his full support to Resorts World, regardless of what happens. 

“They still employ many of my constituents,” Addabbo said. “I’m still going to advocate for Resort World’s economic growth, which benefits our community, the city and the state.” 

Addabbo has been in the Senate since 2009, and was selected to chair the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee in Dec. 2018.

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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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