iGaming Regulation Is Not Included in the New York Governor’s 2025 State Budget 

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., Senate Gaming Committee Chair in New York, recently tabled some new iGaming legislation for New York. Senate Bill S8185 would legalise iGaming across the state with a tax rate of 30.5%. 

iGaming dreams dealt a blow

The Senate Bill was dealt a blow when Governor Kathy Hochul didn’t include it in her 2025 budget. This is not uncommon, as it often takes years to advocate for the introduction of a specific type of betting. If New York eventually adopts iGaming, it could be a very robust gaming market. 

At a time of fiscal distress in New York, allowing iGaming could generate tax revenue to bolster funding for public schools and other services. New York’s neighbouring states that allow online casino games, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, benefit from the tax revenue they generate. Revenue that could be going to New York is currently going to these neighbouring states where iGaming is legal. 

Online sports betting is legal

Online sports betting is already legal in New York, and nine sportsbook operators are currently available to bettors. The state claims 51% of an operator’s gross gambling revenue, which is the highest tax in the country. 

Operators in New York are willing to pay this to ensure their nationwide leadership in sports betting over time. New York isn’t a market they want to miss out on, even though it is more difficult to make a profit there. Mobile sports betting generated $542 million in taxes in its first year and $200 million more in licensing fees. Many states with legal sports betting are considering entering in the iGaming market. 

The Senate Bill is a starting point for conversation

Senator Addabbo sees the bill as a starting point for the conversation about iGaming. It has some differences from the bill introduced last year. Apart from proposing a 30.5% tax rate, it also proposes a fund of $25 million to protect existing casino jobs. It also proposes an $11 million fund for problem gaming programs. 

New Yorkers that go to other states where iGaming is legal to gamble could battle to find assistance for addiction. These two funds address two of the main concerns about iGaming – loss of jobs and addiction. The bill also includes an iLottery. 

The bill has been favorably received, but due to the rise of sites for gaming fans, there are some concerns about the effects it could have. Senator Addabbo believes there aren’t any concerns that can’t be overcome or addressed legislatively. 

The negotiations will take place over the next few months for the final executive budget. It will indicate in which direction Governor Hochul wants to take the state. 

Stumbling blocks

One of the stumbling blocks to the passing of the bill is the state’s labor unions. New York is a big labor union state. To qualify for an interactive gaming license, operators of live dealer games must agree to a labor deal with a union. 

Land-based casinos are unionized and concerned about the impact of iGaming on employees. Unions need to be convinced that iGaming will help and not hurt the land-based casino industry. Addabbo believes the new bill could create more union jobs, as casino employees, such as dealers, could also work in iGaming. Live dealer games are one of the most popular products at online casinos. 

Gambling market analysis in other states like Pennsylvania shows evidence that land-based casinos don’t suffer with the introduction of iGaming. Addabbo remains optimistic because he believes that New York needs the sustainable revenue that can come in from iGaming and iLottery. He will continue to push for the legalisation of iGaming in New York.

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