New York: Sports Betting Alliance launches campaign to legalize igaming

January 12, 2024 1:40 PM
Photo: Shutterupeire/Shutterstock.com
  • Conor Murphy, Special to CDC Gaming Reports
January 12, 2024 1:40 PM
  • Conor Murphy, Special to CDC Gaming Reports

Lobbying group Sports Betting Alliance has launched a political campaign to promote the legalization of iagming in New York, highlighting the potential economic benefits of regulated mobile and online casinos, a campaign that aligns with the reintroduction of legislation by Democratic New York Sen. Joseph Addabbo aimed at establishing a legal framework for online casinos in the state.

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Backed by industry heavyweights, including DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel and MGM, SBA’s campaign highlights the potential for igaming to generate big tax revenues. An advertising campaign funded by the SBA highlights the financial upside of igaming, noting $6 billion in taxable revenues generated by six states where online casinos are legal, including nearby New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“New York faces dangerous deficits, and there’s an affordability crisis across the state. Life’s already hard enough for people without raising taxes or cutting services, but there’s a better way to begin addressing this problem. Neighboring states authorized igaming, creating billions in taxable revenue,” the advertising says.

“A mobile gaming package will net an additional $1 billion annually for the state, create union jobs and ensure New York consumers have access to consumer protections, which are only available in the legal and regulated markets,” the SBA website states.

Proposed Senate Bill 856 allows New York’s commercial and tribal casinos, retail sportsbooks and racinos to offer igaming. The bill also includes a provision for three licenses granted to companies with minority ownership, similar to Maryland’s sports betting legislation, designed to promote diversity in the industry.

Sen. Addabbo, a long-time advocate for legalizing online casinos in New York, believes that the state is missing out on substantial revenue by not participating in this market. He stated two months ago, on the 10-year anniversary of the launch of New Jersey online gambling, “I was certainly jealous of the fact that they were doing stuff that we should have done in New York.”

Addabbo estimates that New York could forego about a billion dollars a year to neighboring states with legal online casinos.

“I was concerned, as we always are, when neighboring states do something that we don’t do,” he said. “It usually means a loss of money, a loss of jobs or a missed opportunity. And I hate missing a golden opportunity.”

However, there is opposition to expanding gaming in New York, with concerns being raised about local community reactions, especially with the anticipated issuance of downstate casino licenses.  In addition, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has not included potential igaming income in her recent budget, suggesting she may not be in favor of signing the legislation should it pass, meaning rallying support for igaming may prove challenging for Addabbo.

The Sports Betting Alliance estimates that igaming could help reduce the state’s deficit by up to $1 billion annually. This comes in the context of the success of New York’s online sports betting industry, generating substantial tax revenue for state education.

“By letting people play casino games online, we can decrease deficits and help our families and schools. Let’s bring igaming to New York,” the SBA’s advertisement said.