iGaming ‘Inevitable’ In New York, Senator Says

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iGaming ‘Inevitable’ In New York, Senator Says
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New Yorkers wanting to play slots and blackjack on cellphone apps are going have to wait, but it’s bound to happen one day, a state senator says.

The New York Legislature adjourned last week without approving a bill to legalize internet gambling, known as iGaming. The measure would have allowed people throughout the state to download apps to play the kind of games found on a casino floor — craps, roulette, slots, poker and more. 

After the legislative session ended last week, state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., D-Queens, told Gambling.com he believes online casinos will be approved at the statehouse in Albany in the future. The Legislature next meets for a regular session in 2023.

Addabbo is chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. 

“I think iGaming in New York is inevitable,” he said.

New York’s Neighbors Have iGaming

Of the half-dozen states where iGaming is legal, three share a border with New York. These are New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

The other states with online casinos are Delaware, Michigan and West Virginia. Internet gaming also is legal in Ontario, Canada. 

In Connecticut, about 500 online casino games are available for players who download mobile iGaming casino apps, according to Kaitlyn Krasselt, communications director for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. 

She told Gambling.com that the iGaming options available in Connecticut include traditional casino games such as craps, blackjack, slots and poker.

New York Tops Nation In Sports Betting

Addabbo said he anticipates iGaming will bring in more revenue than sports betting in New York. During previous months, iGaming in Connecticut has outstripped the revenue from sports wagering.

“iGaming is where the real money is,” Addabbo said.

In recent days, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has touted the tax revenue that mobile sports betting generates for the state.

From Jan. 8 through May 29, the eight mobile sportsbooks authorized to operate in New York have paid a combined $270.5 million in taxes. New York’s 51% tax rate on mobile sports betting is the highest in the nation, along with New Hampshire’s.

The New York Legislature did not lower the tax rate on mobile sports betting this session, as some online bookmakers hoped they would. Addabbo told Gambling.com he is open to tax discussions in the future.

The governor, a Democrat, said the mobile sports betting tax revenue is “going to important programs that will improve the lives of all New Yorkers.”

The state leads in the nation in the amount of money bet on sports, eclipsing $7.4 billion since the mobile wagering program began Jan. 8, outpacing states such as New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Downstate Casinos Approved

The popularity of gaming in New York does not end at sports betting.

Last year, Genting’s Resort World property at the Aqueduct horse track in Queens had the most gambling revenue of any casino outside Nevada, according to the New York Times.

The gaming revenue at Resorts World only comes from slot-style video lottery terminal games. Gaming properties in the New York City area are not allowed to offer Las Vegas-style casino table games, though that is going to change, with the recent approval of three downstate full casinos. 

The downstate casino licenses have not been granted yet. However, Resorts World and another slots-only site, MGM's Empire City harness track in Yonkers, are expected to bid for licenses.

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Larry Henry

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