There was a strong push by some New York lawmakers to bring online casinos to the Empire State. But after failing to receive the proper backing, the earliest we could see licensed NY online casinos is 2024.
Obviously, for proponents of legal online casinos in New York, including stakeholders and lawmakers, that is something to look forward to. However, it also means another year of missed revenue for the state. Money that will now continue pouring into neighboring jurisdictions and even illegal markets.
In January at a Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering meeting, Sen. Joe Addabbo, a driving force behind legalization, noted just how much New York was missing out on.
“Every year we don’t do iGaming in New York, (the state) is losing roughly $4 billion.”
At the same meeting, Howard Glaser, global head of affairs for Light & Wonder, projected New York would make $425 million in annual tax revenue after year one of legal online casinos. After year five, Glaser believes that number would grow to $720 million.
“The states with iGaming,” Glaser said, “have found that sports betting is the appetizer but iGaming is the main course, as far as revenue generation is concerned.”
Simply stating the projected numbers is one thing. Putting them into context shines a different light on the matter. So, with that in mind, what are some things you could purchase with the massive amount of money that could be made from NY online casinos?.
1. Need MTA funding? NY online casinos can help
In the executive budget, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed to give up to $1.6 billion to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) through a rescue package. MTA ridership has declined drastically since COVID-19, which is a major reason for the funding needs.
MTA officials said if there’s no increase in funding, they may be forced to cut subway, bus and commuter railroad services. But Hochul’s proposal calls for a majority of the money made from the three available downstate casino licenses to go to the MTA funding.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has taken issue with Hochul’s plan because it calls for the Big Apple to pay an additional $500 million annually to help the MTA.
Addabbo is also against the executive budget proposal for MTA funding plan. First, because the bulk of the money from the downstate casino bidding won’t come until 2026. The NY gaming industry also provides money for education in the state, and Addabbo doesn’t want to see funding taken away from that.
Rather, Addabbo provided this idea in an interview with PlayNY:
“But I will offer a counterproposal to the governor: We can give her more significant money in a quicker timeframe than 2026, and it’s unspoken for money because it’s a new product, and that’s iGaming. So we’re not shifting it from education. In the bill it says education, but it’s a placeholder. This is new revenues. So you want to use it for healthcare, you want to use it for social services, you want to use part of it for the MTA? Here it is.”
2. Increased funding for problem gambling
As New York sports betting has grown in popularity, so has the need for more funding to problem gambling resources. In fiscal year 2023 — April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023 — the state gave $6 million from sports betting to aid problem gambling education and treatment.
That figure is far too low considering the amount of revenue made from sports wagering. Last March, New York made over $83 million in tax revenue thanks to March Madness.
But in the states with licensed online casinos, more money is made from that compared to sports betting. In Addabbo’s proposal to legalize online casinos, $11 million annually would be dedicated to problem gambling resources.
This would also require no money to be taken from current streams of revenue, as online casinos would open an entirely new source of tax revenue.
3. NY online casino total doubles up record Powerball winnings
The largest US lottery prize handed out came earlier this year when Edwin Castro won $2 billion from Powerball. The odds of winning the Powerball: 292,201,338 to 1.
Castro, a California native, opted to take the single lump sum payment of $997.6 million. After taxes, USA Today estimates he took home $628.5 million.
If NY online casinos are legalized, it’ll be the equivalent of the state winning the largest Powerball ever. Twice.
4. Enough to purchase the Washington Nationals… with plenty left over
In April 2022, the Lerner family announced the Nationals were up for sale. However, it’s been a year and the team has yet to change ownership.
When real estate tycoon Ted Lerner purchased the Nats in 2006, the estimated cost was $450 million. But Forbes’ latest valuation of the franchise was set at roughly $2 billion.
If a sale does happen, it will bring a hefty return on investment for the Lerners. And based on Addabbo’s estimates, the Nationals could be bought twice over with the money lost from no NY online casinos.
5. Or buy the Phoenix Suns and Mercury (almost)
New York was late to the party with this one.
In September 2022, former Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver announced he’d be selling the Suns. Then in late December, the franchises were purchased by billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia for $4 billion.
Sarver bought the teams for $401 million in 2004. His recent sale of the franchises is the largest in NBA history.
The $4 billion lost from online casinos in NY remaining illegal would’ve been just enough to buy the Suns and Mercury. Getting two teams in a single transaction would’ve been a good bang for your buck.
6. Pies from Patsy’s Pizzeria (and lots of them)
Patsy’s Pizzeria prides itself on being “the undisputed premier pizza dynasty in New York.” The first Patsy’s opened in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1933 and today, there are locations on 2nd Ave and 74th St.
The $4 billion from no online casinos will score you enough pizza to last a lifetime. A large classic cheese pizza from Patsy’s costs $25, which would get you 160 million pies.
But if you like toppings on your pizza, that’ll cost an extra $3.95. So let’s throw some sausage on the pizzas and get 138,169,257 of them.
7. Membership to Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta National has been the host site of the Masters Tournament since it first began in 1934. It’s now a host site for what’s considered the most prestigious PGA major golf tournament.
Membership into the club is kept to only about 300 people. Some of the names on that list include Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Condoleezza Rice.
Because Augusta National is a for-profit club, information on annual membership fees are kept private. However, it’s been reported that initiation fees cost anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000.
What we do know is you need to have money to receive an invitation to join Augusta National, and lots of it. But the $4 billion from NY online casinos should be enough to get in.
8. The world’s most expensive house
If you’re into luxury homes, you’ve likely heard of Mukesh Ambani’s home in Mumbai, India. Ambani’s net worth is $83 billion, and his home is just as lavish as you’d expect.
The residence is called Antilia and its estimated cost is around $2 billion — it’s considered to be the most expensive house in the world. The 27-story tower has nine elevators, three helicopter pads, a 50-seat home theater and other luxury amenities.
Imagine playing NY online casino games on that theater screen?
9. A fleet of 1962 Ferrari 250 GTOs
A few years ago at RM Sotheby’s, the bidding for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO started at $35 million. After seven minutes of bidding, the final sale price closed at $48.4 million.
This broke the world record for highest price of an automobile at auction, though it’s likely private deals have gone for more.
With $4 billion, you’d have enough to buy 90 1962 Ferrari 250 GTOs. If only there were that many available for purchase. Only 36 were ever produced.
10. New York Giants season tickets
It’s a dream of every die-hard Giants fan to score season tickets. But one of the issues involved with getting your hands on them is the high price tag.
But with $4 billion, money will be no issue. Purchasing Giants season tickets is all dependent on where you’d like to sit, so let’s review a few options.
Tickets to the 100 level Coaches Club area costs $20,000. Of course, inflation will likely raise those prices as the years go on. But if they were to stay at that price, you could get tickets to the Coaches Club for the next 200,000 seasons.
The 200 level season tickets behind each end zone cost $4,000. That will cover you for the next 1,000,000 seasons.
If you’re interested in the 300 level seating, those sell for $1,000. The next 4,000,000 seasons will be covered by the $4 billion.
No matter which option you take, there’s going to be tons of Giants football in your future.
So, yeah, a lot of money lost without legalizing online casinos in New York.