Robins: NY Presents ‘Big Opportunity’ For iGaming With Momentum Building

Written By Grant Lucas on February 22, 2024
Image of DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, who addressed potential legalization of online casinos in New York

Legalizing online casinos in New York may face a steep, uphill battle. But at least one potential operator has faith that the Empire State can get the job done.

Speaking during a recent earnings call, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins expressed optimism that one day soon, New York online casinos could indeed become reality.

“I think New York could do iGaming, you know, in the next year or so,” Robins told investors. “So that’s another big opportunity.

“So, really, I think the best is yet to come. And as I said earlier, this is an asset that we believe will just continue to increase in value, because if you’re a believer, which I hope we all are, that there will be more and more OSB and iGaming states, none of that is baked into any of our synergy assumptions, that’s just all upside.”

Robins: Momentum building for online casino legalization

In Robins’ estimation, “a few states” have gained momentum toward online casino legalization, most notably with Maryland and Wyoming.

But the obvious is that New York stands as the biggest fish waiting to be hooked. Especially with an established and highly successful online sports betting industry that has generated nearly $3.3 billion in gross gaming revenue, including just shy of $1 billion for DraftKings, since NY sports betting launched in early 2022.

However, as Robins pointed out, sports betting can only do so much. TO maximize revenue, he noted, states should legalize online casino gaming.

“The draw for that reason of new tax revenues from online gaming isn’t as strong if you just launched online sports betting,” Robins said, “and you’re waiting to see how it’s ramping and you’re still getting more and more accustomed to and comfortable with it.”

Following the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government stepped in to provide revenue assistance. But that help is coming to a close. And as Robins noted, those states are “starting to see budgets that really look a lot like the budgets four or five years ago … and the surpluses in some of these states are no longer there.”

Online casinos could play big role in righting fiscal ship

Indeed, New York faces a $4.3 billion budget deficit. As Sen. Joe Addabbo has pointed out, authorizing legal online casinos in NY would provide significant revenue boosts.

“It’s a question of what you want to do,” Addabbo, whose bill to legalize NY online casinos is currently in a Senate committee, told PlayNY last month. “You may not want to do iGaming, but you may be in a position where you NEED to do iGaming in New York. Which led us to mobile sports betting, which now we’re looking at two years later the benefits of that.”

Speaking at the 3rd Annual Craig-Hallum Online Gaming Conference late last year, Robins expressed a similar sentiment.

“We did hit a bit of a period where I think a lot of states had their pockets full after the COVID federal relief packages. And some of those states are starting to pull their head up now and say, hey, we’re looking for new sources of revenue.”

Photo by John Locher / AP Photo
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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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