Senator Addabbo Says Online Casinos Are Inevitable In The Big Apple, But Is Be Correct?

Published on May 30, 2024, 6:22 am
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In the past decade, New York has seen wholesale changes to its gambling landscape. Despite this, online casinos and other iGaming activities remain prohibited in the state. Recently, Senator Joseph Addabbo, Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering stated that the legalization of online casinos is inevitable, doubling down on his commitment to changing policy surrounding iGaming’s legal status. So, is the Senator right or is there a long way to go before we see any jackpot wins on online platforms in New York?

The current gambling landscape in New York

It is important to remember that before 2013, gambling regulations in New York were some of the strictest in the United States. Nearly all gambling activities were prohibited with the exception of tribal casinos, charitable raffles and certain types of horserace wagers. In 2013, constitutional changes via public vote allowed the creation of seven new commercial casinos in the state, representing the pivot point for New York’s gambling legislation. Since then, a multitude of new bills have been passed, loosening regulations on activities such as online sports betting and mobile betting. While the state government has understood the need to legitimize gambling practices, the status of online casino platforms remains illegal. There are several indications that suggest legalization of these casinos is likely the next step.

Consumer demand

Despite the legal status of online casinos within the state, there remains a huge community of New Yorkers who are active participants in online gaming. Some players use offshore sites while many travel to neighboring states where they can access legal online casinos through sites like and other review sites. Players are looking for high-quality gameplay, the fastest payout online casinos, sign-on bonuses, and on-the-go play, with many now preferring online options instead of their physical counterparts. Regardless of the legal status in New York, legislators cannot deny the existence of a gaming community there. By accepting this, and addressing the demand within its own borders, they will be able to safely regulate the industry, ensuring a fair gambling environment that helps to protect players, while also being able to benefit from the financial gains of an online gaming industry.

Revenue generation

Since legalizing online sports betting, New York has benefited hugely from the revenue generated through tax and licensing fees on betting activities. So much so, the state possesses the largest share of the total US tax revenue generated by betting-related activities – in the second quarter of 2023 this was a staggering $188 million. Lawmakers will be looking at this and assessing the potential revenue that a thriving iGaming industry could also provide to the state. To add further fuel to the fire, it was reported earlier this year, that the iGaming industry in New Jersey, New York’s gambling neighbors, had generated nearly $2 billion in 2023. With around 20% of all wagers in New Jersey being placed by New Yorkers, lawmakers will be keen to transfer this huge revenue stream to their own back garden.

The future of gambling

We are experiencing a constant technological revolution at present, with nearly all aspects of our daily lives being digitized in one way or another. It looks likely that the future of our societies will be increasingly online, especially considering emerging innovative technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain. It can therefore be assumed that the transition to online gaming environments is part of a natural progression, and that the prevalence of online casinos will soon be hard to ignore. With that in mind, it will be vital for lawmakers to develop suitable legislation to continue to effectively regulate the gambling landscape. Gambling practices will continue to evolve regardless of the laws in place, it is up to those in charge to make sure a safe and transparent gambling environment is maintained. The emergence of iGaming cannot simply be ignored.

So, what is the issue? There are a few key challenges that lawmakers need to consider that could prevent the legalization of online casinos. 

Backlash from existing casinos

Debate about the possible legalization of online casinos has caused a huge stir within the existing casino community with a number of leading land-based venues stating that their revenues could be severely impacted. It is not just those at the top that are worried either. Almost 700 employees at Resorts World casino in Queens have signed a letter claiming attempts by Addabbo to legalize online casinos is a direct attack on their jobs. While brick-and-mortar casinos employ large numbers of staff to maintain their operations, online casinos require significantly less – highlighting that a transition to online platforms could lead to many losing their jobs. Other say however, that market competition drives product quality, and that increased competition from online rivals may force land-based casinos to improve their quality to ensure their customer base is maintained.

Social Impact and Moral Issues

Furthermore, those in charge as well as many members of the public in New York continue to have concerns regarding the social impact of gambling and whether the government has a moral responsibility to limit potentially harmful gambling environments. Gambling addiction is a continuing issue in American society, with many believing online casinos are a hotbed for the development of addiction in vulnerable people. This links to greater regulatory concerns surrounding the iGaming industry, with many unsure how to effectively prevent issues such as underage gambling, fraud as well as addiction. It is clear that before any bill is passed, careful considerations need to be made to ensure negative social impacts are minimized and that any legislation should be rushed through.

While Senator Addabbo has been at the heart of some genuinely fantastic incentives such as the co-sponsoring the Bronx Gun Buyback Scheme some residents are still unsure of his newest push. However, it seems that it is now a matter of when rather than if. In that sense, Senator Addabbo appears to be correct in his statement. That does not however diminish the importance of overcoming the issues that must be tackled to ensure it is the right decision.

Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.