Are there any insights or quotes from Sen. Addabbo on how he plans to address potential concerns or opposition to expanding sports betting options?
Regarding sports betting, Sen. Addabbo wants bettors in New York to be able to wager on things that are legal in some other jurisdictions, namely individual sports awards (like NFL most valuable player awards) and things like non-team proposition bets (how long the National Anthem will last prior to kickoff at the Super Bowl, what color shoes the Super Bowl halftime performer will wear, etc). The legislative session began early this month at the state Capitol in Albany and is set to end in June. The senator has between now and then to win support for legislation to make these changes. The legislation will have to be approved in Senate and Assembly committees and then be approved by the full Senate and Assembly (called the House of Representatives in some states) before going to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her signature. At any step in this process the legislation could die — in the committees or on the Senate or Assembly floors. If it got all the way to the governor, she could either sign it into law or veto it.
Regarding the projected increase in tax revenue from iGaming, does Sen. Addabbo mention any specific plans for how this additional revenue will be utilized within the state?
As for iGaming, the tax revenue the state would collect if iGaming is approved (about $1 billion a year, according to Addabbo) would go to various state programs. Addabbo also wants a portion to go toward programs to help those with gambling addictions. As with any lawmaker introducing a bill involving the budget, the senator will work to convince opponents of the state’s needs, including a state budget deficit in the 2024 fiscal year of more than $4.3 billion. As he told me, “Everyone has to say, ‘Let’s stop losing $1 billion a year.’” The same would be true of his strategy on getting the sports betting changes through the Legislature. As he told me, the sports betting changes are expected to bring in additional state revenue. As you know, revenue that goes into a state’s general fund, if not earmarked for programs like gambling addiction awareness, is first presented in the governor’s spending plan at the beginning of the legislative session and then adjusted and/or amended in the legislative money committees before going back to the governor.
Lastly, has Sen. Addabbo provided any timeline or roadmap for the implementation of these changes, especially concerning iGaming?
The proposed timeline to implement sports betting changes or iGaming legalization will be spelled out in the bills. I will continue to monitor that and can keep you updated. The sports betting changes should not take long to implement, once they meet regulatory approval. However, since iGaming would be a new program in New York (it is legal in only six states now) state gaming regulators would have to investigate and approve the iGaming operators before anyone can began playing traditional casino games online — some of which have live dealers, by the way. In Connecticut, which borders New York, the state’s legal iGaming program has more than 500 online casino games available to players, including craps, blackjack, roulette, etc.
This interview would have not been possible without the help of Gambling.com