Online gambling is again a hot topic of discussion among New York lawmakers. Local officials are upping their efforts to introduce legislation that would potentially make iGaming a legal option in the Empire State. They predict that it could generate more than US$1 billion in revenue which would help the state fill the budget gaps projected to come in the next years.
Legislature wants to use the momentum from the introduction of mobile sports betting, which was launched in January 2022 and has brought in some serious tax revenue to the state. For the fiscal 2022-2023, it delivered US$729 million to the state. Its success is one of the reasons lawmakers want to introduce online casino games such as poker, blackjack, roulette, and others.
New York Should Follow Other State’s Example
At the moment, seven other U.S. states already offer iGaming as a legal option, including the neighbouring Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. Senate Racing, Gaming & Wagering Committee chair Joe Addabbo who sponsors the legislation commented that New York needs to follow the example not to lose customers to other states.
Mr. Addabbo is hopeful that Gov. Kathy Hochul will consider iGaming in the early state budget preparations when state officials seek potential revenue-raising initiatives. In his proposal, state-licensed online casinos would be taxed at 30.5%, and according to the senator in its first year, digital gambling would produce about a billion dollars in net proceeds.
Additionally, the senator said that the introduction could allow land-based casinos a way to expand their gaming offerings and it would not hurt their business. Mr. Addabbo and his staff are in the process of altering the bill before it is presented in December. The plan is to review the tax rate, structure, details about the number of brick-and-mortar casinos vs. mobile operators and more.
Lastly, Mr. Addabbo commented that the idea is to have iGaming as a job generator, as well as a revenue generator but he also wants to address concerns regarding problem gambling. He noted that the state can help someone with addiction because they don’t know who they are, but with regulated iGaming, the state would be able to help those in need.
Problem Gambling is on the Rise
According to a recent report by the New York State Gaming Commission and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, there has been a 33% increase in people who have joined voluntary self-exclusion programs in the first 12 months of online sports betting. In also discovered that the state also saw a 23% spike in calls to the state’s HOPEline.
Previously, gambling experts such as Jeffrey Wierzbicki, team leader of the Western Problem Gambling Resource Center in Buffalo, have expressed concerns regarding the increasing popularity of online wagering. He also warned about an increase in people seeking for help and also pointed out that there were not enough funds to properly tackle addictions.
Source: Lisa, Kate “Lawmakers weigh mobile casino gaming to boost state revenue” Spectrum News 1, October 31, 2023