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Online gambling proposal is back on the table in New York

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Interactive gaming or iGaming is a form of mobile or online wagering.

New York legislators are currently considering a proposal that would include casino table games like poker, blackjack and roulette. State Senate Gaming Committee Chair Joe Addabbo is the sponsor.

“It’s a good bill,” Addabbo said. “We got a lot of input from a lot of individuals, but it’s a starting point. It’s a starting point where I’m hoping that we can have these kinds of discussions during the budget process.”

Addabbo said iGaming and iLottery, which is also included in his proposal, projects to generate roughly $1 billion annually. He said a lot of that money is currently going to neighboring states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania where it’s already legal. 

With a proposed 30.5% tax rate and $2 million licensing fee, Addabbo believes it could be part of the solution to projected deficits the state faces, not just this year but in the future.

“We need to look at the outyears, 2025, 2026, where according to the state comptroller the fiscal situation only gets worse, then we do need to figure out a sustainable plan both short-term and long-term and that is iGaming and iLottery,” he said.

The bill includes safety measures and protocols for problem gambling as well as $11 million annually toward addiction services and supports.

“If we’re serious about helping people with a gaming problem, knowing that they’re doing iGaming anyway in New York, they’re just doing it illegally, then you try to do it this year because that will actually help the New Yorker who is already participating in iGaming,” Addabbo said.

He said the state needs to ensure iGaming doesn’t threaten existing union casino employees. The bill would establish another fund of at least $25 million annually toward their training and support.

He also believes it will actually create more union jobs by allowing for live dealers for iGames.

“We do not want to cannibalize brick and mortar licenses. We do now want to cannibalize those jobs. We want to grow those jobs,” Addabbo said.

He said the bill is inclusive, allowing current video lottery terminal licensees, mobile sports betting operators, state-licensed and Native American casinos to opt in.

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