Two NY Lawmakers Propose Legal Online Casinos To Help Budget Deficit

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on December 6, 2023
New York State Assembly Chamber Members Meet

New York lawmakers who head gambling committees in the Senate and Assembly are looking to improve legislation legalizing a new form of online gambling.

Officials say legalizing NY online casinos and an online state lottery could bring in another $1 billion in revenue to the Empire State. It could also help close budget gaps projected over the next few years.

In an op-ed appearing on the City and State New York website, New York Sen. Joe Addabbo and Asm. Gary Pretlow wrote:

“As chairmen of the Senate and Assembly Committees that oversee gaming, we had been long-time advocates for the legalization of mobile sports betting because we believed it would be a much-needed economic boon for New York at a time when we desperately needed it.”

NY online sports betting has positively impacted state revenue

Addabbo and Pretlow said their expectations were proven correct – legal online sports betting, which began in January 2022, was and continues to be a major success in NY.

Online sports betting brought in nearly $1 billion in tax revenue throughout its first year. That’s more than any other state collected. Most funds go to education aid and sports programs for underserved kids.

The state comptroller projected a budget deficit of more than $9 billion for the next fiscal year. The two New York lawmakers believe the legalization of iGaming and iLottery could double the substantial revenue from online sports betting and help the budget deficit.

Their op-ed further reads:

“As we prepare to enter a new legislative session with COVID-era funding from the federal government expiring, we face a looming budget deficit of great proportions. The state comptroller has pegged the deficit at $4.3 billion for next year and $8 billion for 2025.

Solving it will require many difficult choices, but a good first step to beat the odds is right in front of us: we can double the substantial revenue we get from mobile sports betting through the legalization of iGaming (online gambling) and iLottery (online state lottery).”

Addabbo and Pretlow were advocates for the legalization of online sports betting for a long time. They continue working on legislation to authorize online lottery and online casinos in New York, which they believe could become law this session.

“The bill uses the same framework in place for mobile sports betting, allowing consumers to safely play in a legal and regulated market while generating a projected $1 billion annually for New York, above and beyond what the state already receives from mobile sports betting.”

NY lawmakers do not want to miss any more investment opportunities

Once or if New York legalizes iGaming, it will join neighboring online casino states:

  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania

Other iGaming dominant states like Illinois, Michigan and New Hampshire are among the ones that also offer iLottery. Numerous reports indicate that all these states have a net increase in tax revenue from online gambling with no harmful effects on land-based casinos.

“At a time of fiscal distress for our state, we cannot continue to allow hundreds of millions of dollars to be funneled into neighboring states or into the pockets of disreputable companies – particularly when those funds could be used to further bolster funding for public schools or other worthy services,” Addabbo and Pretlow wrote.

The two lawmakers also hope to gain online gambling support with a $25 million fund for land-based casino workers. The money is to ensure there will be no cannibalization of brick-and-mortar casinos should the state pass online casino legislation in 2024.

Addabbo intends to have the online casino language done before Gov. Kathy Hochul releases her executive budget next month. If the governor mentions online casino revenue, it will initiate discussions for its inclusion in the final budget.

Photo by Hans Pennink / AP Photo
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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