In a procedural move at the start of post-budget legislative session, the New York Senate reported and committed to finance an effort to expand legal gambling in the Empire State with bills to include online casino gaming and expand online sports betting in New York.
Sen. Joe Addabbo would still like to get fixed-odds horse racing included on all NY online sports betting apps before session ends June 2.
The inclusion of legal online casino gaming will be Addabbo’s No. 1 priority for the fiscal year 2023-24 NYS budget. The conversation should ramp up in December prior to hopefully getting it into the governor’s January Executive Budget.
“We’re laying the foundation really for next year’s budget,” Addabbo said. “We’ll have constant conversation about it this year, just to work out the kinks and figure out a roadmap to getting it into the budget next year.”
Racinos fear cannibalization by NY online casinos
Two bills from Addabbo — S8471 to authorize more NY online sports betting operators and S8412 to legalize online casinos in New York — passed through the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.
Some racinos in the state, however, have expressed concern about cannibalization if NY online casino gaming was only for fully-licensed casinos.
“That’s not our intent, but it’s certainly a topic for discussion,” Addabbo said. “Whether we start with fully-licensed casinos or whether the gaming commission says we can only use fully-licensed casinos, this is part of the conversation and why we do this now. So that when we get to December leading up to the Jan. Executive Budget, all these issues have been worked out.”
The New York sports betting expansion was included in the Senate and Assembly one-house budgets. However, they failed to gain any traction as the resulting tax rate reduction from 51% wouldn’t have made sense for the state financially as it pertains to educational funding.
“It’s basically just to keep it on the radar,” Addabbo said. “I don’t expect finance to entertain it. It’s a topic for somewhere down the line as we re-evaluate online sports betting toward the end of the year.”
Addabbo aiming for NY sports betting kiosks at stadiums
The expanded horse racing on the online sports betting apps bill as written would also include the possibility of allowing self-service kiosks at stadiums, arenas and racetracks around the state.
“That’s the one I’d like to push and not wait until next year but try to push for this session. It’s going to be a heavy lift, but nevertheless, we’re going to talk about it. Whether we look at the kiosks or consider taking them out, we’ll see,” Addabbo said.
During NYS budget session, Addabbo and counterpart Assemb. Gary Pretlow scored their second straight victory via the acceleration of the three downstate casino licenses (in addition to legal online sports betting launching Jan. 8).
Both would also like to see an expanded menu of sports betting offered in NY. Similar to at least what neighboring New Jersey features. That means considering the possibility of future player awards like Cy Young, MVP and the Heisman. As of now, New York bettors also can’t wager on the NFL draft.
“My legal counsel is taking a look at that now because the interpretation is a draft a sports wager? And probably an argument can be made that it’s not — it’s not a competitive sport,” Addabbo said. “So we’ll have to figure the out but that’s what we’re looking at now.”
Addabbo would obviously prefer expanding the sports betting menu administratively rather than legislatively. But that’s TBD at this point.