New York State’s 2024 iGaming prospects dealt early blow with omission from governor’s budget

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: January 16, 2024 4:20 pm EST

The chances that 2024 would be the year that online casino games, including online poker, will be legalized in New York have been dealt an early blow with the omission of the topic from the proposed 2025 state budget from NY Governor Kathy Hochul’s office.

Governor Hochul’s budgetary omission of any planned iGaming budget inclusion sharply dims the prospects for Senate BIll 8185 (S8185), the iGaming measure introduced last week by NY State Senator Joseph Addabbo. Addabbo, a long-time proponent of generating revenue for New York through the issuance of online-gambling licenses, had signaled that he would not push the bill in an energetic way should the topic be omitted from Governor Hochul’s outline for New York’s 2025 fiscal-year planning.

The likely pullback from Addabbo and other iGaming supporters in the state mirrors what occurred in early 2023, when Hochul also omitted iGaming considerations from the then-upcoming 2024 fiscal year budget. The setback also comes after Addabbo and his pro-gaming Assembly counterpart, Rep. Gary Pretlow, mounted something of a public-relations campaign with a recent op/ed in a prominent New York news outlet on why online-gaming authorization would be good for the state.

Minor pari-mutuel considerations the only new budget wrinkles offered by Hochul

Online gaming received less than scant mention in Hochul’s annual budget proposal. The full paper offers only a brief, two-paragraph inclusion of planned “Gaming Initiatives” at the end of a six-page “Revenue Actions” section. The two paragraphs deal only with a pair of pari-mutuel wagering issues, both of which are continuations of existing budget concerrns. The brief inclusion reads as follows:

GAMING INITIATIVES

Extend Pari-Mutuel Tax Rates and Simulcast Provisions for One Year. To maintain the current parimutuel wagering structure in the State, the Executive Budget extends various expiring Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and Breeding Law provisions for an additional year, as was done in the FY 2024 Enacted Budget.

Extend Authorized Use of Capital Funds by a Certain Off-Track Betting Corporation for One Year. To provide financial flexibility, the Executive Budget extends Capital Off-Track Betting Corporation’s ability to use up to $1 million of its capital acquisition fund for operational expenses for an additional year, provided certain conditions are met, as was proposed in the FY 2024 Executive Budget.

Senator Addabbo, the chairman of the New York Senate’s Commission on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, had yet to issue a statement regarding the latest blow to his iGaming legislation in the first hours following Hochul’s budgetary release.