New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo reintroduces iGaming legislation

Haley Hintze
Published by:
Posted on: January 12, 2024 10:02 am EST

New York State Senator and online-gaming proponent Joseph Addabbo has reintroduced legislation that would authorize and regulate several forms of iGaming, including online poker, in the Empire State.

Sen. Addabbo’s standing internet-gaming measure was refiled as Senate Bill S8185 and immediately assigned to the New York Senate’s Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, which Addabbo chairs. No hearings or votes on the latest iteration of the bill have been scheduled.

The bill is largely identical to other iGaming measures sponsored or co-sponsored by Addabbo in recent years, including S8412 in the state’s 2021-22 legislative session and S4856 last year. Action on last year’s bill effectively ceased when the state’s legislature omitted online gaming as a topic for consideration in New York’s 2024 fiscal budget. New York State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow is likely to introduce a parallel Assembly version of this year’s bill at a later date.

New York could be nation’s largest single-state iGaming market

According to the bill’s introductory passages, the passage and signing of S8185 would make New York the single-largest US state in terms of iGaming revenue within a year’s time. New York quickly became the US’s largest online sports-betting state after authorizing it in 2021, with the first live wagering occurring in January 2022.

S8185 notes that neighboring states Pennsylvania and New Jersey generated roughly $3.5 billion in online-gaming in revenue, collecting about a billion dollars in combined revenue for the two states. The bill also notes that seven states in total have already legalized online gaming, with most of those states in close proximity to New York.

The bill declares a “conservative estimate” that approving online gaming would net New York a much needed billion dollars in tax revenue in it its first year. Once established as a market leader, New York would likely retain its position until the decade-old gridlock in California between various stakeholder factions is resolved, which appears unlikely to occur for several more years.

S8185 calls for the state to issue three interactive gaming licenses, to be awarded through a competitive bidding process open to currently approved gambling licensees in the state. The bill would bar any federally-recognized tribal nations in New York from offering competing online-gaming platforms without being licensed by the state, but they would be welcomed into the bidding process.

The three winning licensees would then be allowed to contract with online-gaming software partners, but each winning bidder would be limited to just a single online skin. The sites would be open to people physically present in New York who are at least 21 years of age.

Addabbo and Pretlow published policy op/ed on topic in December

Last month, Addabbo and Pretlow jointly offered a policy piece on the need for New York to pass iGaming legislation. The op/ed, published by cityandstateny.com, highlighted the major talking points internet gaming’s proponents will continue to hammer home.

Those talking points included the state’s need for added tax revenue, the quick success of online sports betting in New York, the increased competition offered from several neighboring states, and, of course, the ability to block underage gambling via state-regulated sites.

“We are working on legislation to authorize iGaming and iLottery in New York, and we are optimistic that this session, we can turn it into law,” the legislators wrote. “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.”

Later, Addabbo and Pretlow added, “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.”