New York's 2022 online casino and poker legislation failed, but Sen. Addabbo says it set a foundation in preparation for next year

New York’s Sen. Joseph Addabbo Says Online Poker & Casino Effort Will Continue In 2023

New York made progress on expanding its gambling industry this year. On Jan. 8, it launched online sports betting. On Thursday, lawmakers agreed on a $221 billion state budget that included three retail casino licenses. Only iGaming legalization efforts stalled.

However, legislators will resume work to legalize iGaming in 2023, predicted Sen. Joseph Addabbo, D-Howard Beach.

Speaking with Online Poker Report yesterday, he said he still hopes for New York to legalize online casino and online poker next year. Not only that, but he would love to see the Empire State join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).

“I would look for interstate competition,” Addabbo said.

New York online poker

Online poker players are notoriously passionate, but are more niche than US online casino gamblers. That’s why combining players from different states improves online poker liquidity.

That’s why Addabbo will want New York to be part of multi-state poker.

That wish may take awhile, though. Michigan joined that agreement just last week, despite Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) officials believing that might happen last year.

Still, Michigan did move quickly. That state had only launched its online gambling marketplace on Jan. 22, 2021.

MSIGA now includes four states:

  • Delaware
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey 

Why iGaming failed this year

Addabbo moved quickly after New York’s online sports betting launch to try to get the ball rolling on online casino legislation as well. As leader of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, he introduced SB 8412 just a month after the launch of the first online sportsbooks.

Still, he feels the effort wasn’t quite quick enough. He told OPR:

“We basically started a little too late with iGaming this year.”

That’s not to say the effort was a total loss. Addabbo said what this year accomplished was getting the kinks out of the proposed legislation:

“What it does is it sets a foundation … in preparation for next year.”

Plus, lawmakers will have a year to see how well online sports betting works before they have the opportunity to vote on it again.

Why iGaming may fare better in 2023

Fiscal Year 2024’s budget likely won’t include federal aid from coronavirus and Hurricane Ida hardships, Addabbo said. (The budget approved on Thursday is for Fiscal Year 2023.)

That September 2021 hurricane caused about $100 million in damage to Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) infrastructure alone, according to the New York Daily News.

Addabbo said of 2023:

“We’re going to be looking for revenue at that point.”

Online casino will bring in more tax revenue than online sports betting already does, he said. OPR research shows that’s been true in states offering both online casino and online sports betting.

How likely is iGaming to pass in 2023?

Addabbo told OPR:

“I’m optimistic.”

Downstate retail casino licenses

The front-runners for the three new, “full” gambling licenses already have online gambling links.

  • Resorts World New York, a retail casino in Queens, received an online sports betting license in January.
  • Empire City Casino in Yonkers is part of the Las Vegas-headquartered MGM Resorts International empire. MGM and Isle of Man-based Entain jointly own BetMGM. BetMGM Casino dominates US online casino market share.

Those land-based casinos are in the lead to vie for two of the three licenses that will likely go for $500 million each, according to the New York Times.

Addabbo told OPR he believes the state may see bids reaching $750 million or even $1 billion each.

His optimism may not be unwarranted. The licenses may yield high bids, considering online sportsbooks saw $4.8 billion in wagers from Jan. 8 to March 31, according to PlayNY. That’s even with a 51% tax rate on online sports betting, which generated $151.7 million in tax revenue during that time.

- Heather Fletcher is the lead writer with OnlinePokerReport. She's a career journalist, with bylines in The New York Times, Adweek and other publications. Reach her at [email protected]
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