Legal New York iGaming a matter of when, not if


IGaming is coming to the Empire State, but political attention for downstate casinos may delay action until 2025 or later.

Several experts discussed New York iGaming and online casino legalization at last week’s SBC Summit North America at the Meadowland Expo Center. While the experts agreed that iGaming legislation was more a matter of “when, not if” in the state, it could still be several years before New Yorkers can play online casino games on their phones.

Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. (D-15) was bullish on the state’s chances for legalizing iGaming in 2024. Addabbo Jr. and his Assemblyman counterpart J. Gary Pretlow (D-89) helped usher online sports betting legislation into the state in 2021.

So, when will New York become the next state to legalize online casinos, joining regulated online casinos in New Jersey which launched in 2013?

Can New York legalize iGaming by 2024?

The senator has made it clear that iGaming will be a priority of his in 2024. If legalized in 2024, it’s likely that iGaming would launch in the state by early 2025.

“This will be hotly debated issue in next year’s budget. New York is sitting on a billion dollars in iGaming revenue, money that can be used for transportation or healthcare, two major parts of the state budget, because it’s unspoken for funding,” Addabbo said at the summit.

While Addabbo Jr. introduced an iGaming bill this year, the legislation failed to gain traction. The bill attempted to legalize online casino gaming, including slots, table games, and live dealer games with a 30.5% iGaming tax rate. Most states average between 15% to 18% for their iGaming tax rates.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) did not include iGaming revenues in her state budget and the bill did not move forward.

Katie Peters, Public Policy Senior Vice President of FanDuel, shared in Addabbo’s optimism and predicted the state would legalize iGaming in 2024 as well.

2025 Might Be More Likely

But not all panelists shared in their enthusiasm. George Rover, Managing Partner of Princeton Global Strategies, and Lee Terfloth, Chief Operating Officer of Out the Gate, both predicted it will take New York years to legalize online casino gaming.

Why the pessimism? Three words…downstate casino licenses.

“I believe the political efforts will focus more on the brick-and-mortar casinos. I think iGaming will take a few years to get done,” Terfloth said.

Three downstate casinos licenses are up for grabs and will likely attract most of the political attention this year and the next. Hochul’s last signed state budget included three licenses for downstate New York casinos. The casinos can be located in the five boroughs, Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley.

But the longer the state waits to legalize iGaming, the longer it doesn’t realize a massive new revenue stream, Addabbo noted. New York has the potential to generate $1 billion annually from iGaming if approved and legislated correctly, he said.