Preventing a rise in problem gambling is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of legalizing New York online casinos. But there’s a way it can be done that will actually bolster NY’s current responsible gaming resources.
The last thing NY lawmakers want is a rise in problem gambling following the future legalization of online casinos in NY. It’s what’s stopped it from coming to the Empire State to this point.
“I do believe, with iGaming, probably our biggest challenge — bigger than the downstate licenses, bigger than mobile sports betting — is the challenge of addiction with iGaming,“ Sen. Joe Addabbo told PlayNY a year ago. “I think it’s trickier, and therefore we’ll look to do more funds and more in-tune with OASAS (Office of Addiction Services and Support) on how we address addiction even further.”
There’s reason to believe legalizing online casinos in NY could actually improve the New York responsible gambling education and outreach programs.
NY is turning a blind eye to online casinos
New Yorkers are still partaking in online casino gaming despite the fact it remains illegal in the state. Some residents flee to neighboring states like New Jersey or Pennsylvania that allow online casinos.
Others opt to stay within state lines and game with offshore sportsbooks. Either way, New York is losing billions of dollars by not making online casinos legal. It also makes it impossible for NY’s responsible gaming advocates to identify and help those suffering from gambling addictions.
Addabbo put it best when he said:
“If you don’t regulate it, you don’t even know who (suffers from problem gambling). And if you take into account the revenue we would’ve made, which covers around $2 billion that first year, then we’re looking at roughly $3 billion a year lost every year we don’t do iGaming, plus not helping with addiction.”
Drastic increase in RG funding from online casinos
But even more stands to be made from online casinos. For example, New Jersey’s sports betting revenue was $54,621,220 last February. That same month, the Garden State’s online casino revenue was $142,592,966.
NY could capitalize off the added revenue from online casinos by directing even more funding to responsible gaming resources. In fiscal year 2023 (April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023), $6 million was used to fund problem gambling education and treatment in New York. This is far too low considering NY made over $83 million in sports betting tax revenue in March 2023 alone.
Addabbo believes the additional tax revenue from online casinos is worth the fight to legalize it. Especially when more money can be given to support responsible gaming resources. In 2022, Addabbo proposed a bill that would allocate $11 million to responsible gaming measures.
As Addabbo told PlayNY:
“What state wouldn’t want more revenue and more educational funding — especially when they see some of that iGaming money leaving New York is either going to another state or doing it illegally? So you want to secure that, regulate it and make it safer. That’s my point of view.”