During the first week of the 2024 legislative session, two New York lawmakers introduced the idea of legalizing fixed-odds betting options on horse racing. State Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow have filed bills to authorize self-service betting kiosks at venues like tracks, stadiums and arenas.
Senator Joseph Addabbo is a Queens Democrat and the chairman of the state Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. Pretlow is a Westchester County Democrat who heads the Assembly’s Racing and Wagering Committee.
The two lawmakers proposed similar measures in 2022 and 2023 but never made it beyond their committees. Among these failed efforts, a broader discussion is emerging – the expansion of NY gambling to include online casinos.
Addabbo plans to introduce online gambling legislation
During the 2024 legislative session, Addabbo indicated plans to introduce internet gambling (iGaming) legislation. He anticipates introducing new legislation to legalize online casinos in New York in the next two weeks.
The topic of fixed-odds betting on horse racing may become a part of that bigger discussion on online gambling. Addabbo trusts New York Gov. Kathy Hochul would embrace iGaming and a possible horse race betting expansion in her 2024 state budget plan.
The Empire State faces a multi-billion-dollar deficit and needs new revenue sources to avoid increasing taxes. Addabbo is confident that legalizing more gambling could help regain a significant portion of the revenue that went to offshore gambling companies or other states.
“You can’t cut yourself out of a deficit … The idea is you look for revenue. I don’t know what governor would allow New Yorkers to do something in an unsafe manner and lose $1 billion in betting revenues.”
Seven US states currently offer online casinos, which include three border states in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
Addabbo also emphasized New York players who regularly place online casino bets do so without any regulatory protection from the state. He also worries gambling addicts from New York will not get the help they need.
Fixed-odds betting on horse racing measure has NYRA’s support
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) supports the 2024 fixed-odds horse betting measure. The expanded measure could include horse racing as part of the state’s thriving sports betting program that launched two years ago.
The change would improve the current system, which legally permits horse racing betting through advance-deposit wagering platforms offering pari-mutuel betting, like NYRA Bets.
Allowed fixed-odds betting would put horse racing on leading sportsbook platforms like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, BetMGM, and others.