At the start of the year, there were hopes that the state of New York would be joining those states who have passed online casino and poker legislation. After the introductory period for the current year’s budgets in the New York State Legislature concluded, however, that did not come to pass. That means that, for the remainder of 2023 and into the next year, there will be no online casino gaming or poker in the Empire State.
Neither Senate nor House Advances Bill
On Friday, both chambers of the General Assembly finished presenting their budget recommendations for the rest of the current year. Those two bills – A3000 in the Assembly and R555 in the Senate – spelled out the priorities for the State Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul for the 2023 budget. Neither of those bill presentations had any mention of online poker or casino gaming and it appears that was intentional.
The major driver for online gaming legislation in the Assembly, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, did not even include his pet bill for online gaming in the budget presentation from his committee on Racing and Wagering. In the Senate, Senator Joe Addabbo pushed in roundtable meetings for the passage of legislation, but it seems he was the only voice that was advocating for such legislation. The lack of action from either body means that there will be no movement on online casino gaming and poker in the state of New York for yet another year.
New York seems to be following the trend that California does regarding online casinos and poker – tease the people with potential passage and then yank it away. For several years now, the State Legislature has offered potential regulatory actions on the revenue builder, but each year they fail in the endeavor. Although they have passed sports betting legislation in the state (passed in 2021) to go along with their horse racing offerings, New York has failed to pick up the ball regarding online casinos and poker.
Major Move if New York Were to Regulate
There are many reasons why people are watching New York as a potential hotbed of online gaming. At this time, only a handful of states have passed online casino and poker regulations, including New York’s neighbors New Jersey and Pennsylvania. With other states opening up for online casino and poker play (such as Massachusetts and Connecticut), New York is in danger of losing millions, if not a billion dollars, in revenues to these states.
Additionally, if New York were to enter the online gaming market, it would almost assuredly become the #1 operation in the industry. With a population of roughly 22 million people, New York dwarfs other major states like Pennsylvania (13 million) and Michigan (10 million) in sheer numbers. By that metric, a stand-alone New York online casino or poker room could potentially draw in a billion in yearly revenues right off the bat (Pennsylvania drew in almost $475 million in 2022 by itself).
Then there is the potential for a powerhouse compact across the Tri-State area. If Pennsylvania and New Jersey (and go ahead and toss in Connecticut and Massachusetts) joined forces with New York, you would see a compacted player pool of over 55 million residents. Naturally, not all of those players would take part, but there would be a serious player pool built up for online poker operations and the online casinos would be humming 24/7.
It seems there are many issues that proponents of online gaming and poker have on their plate in New York that is preventing them from moving forward. There isn’t much hope for passage of any legislation in 2024, either, as those in the position to proffer legislation have their attentions elsewhere (New York is also looking at casino expansion). Each year that the New York State Legislature sits inactive regarding online casino and poker regulations, that is more money that will be going elsewhere rather than into the state coffers.