New York will walk a tightrope assuming there’s a push in the legislature for NY online casinos, a point that’s been made even by advocates for allowing wagering on slots and table games on personal computing devices.
A recent report released by gaming company Light & Winder and prepared by research firm VIXIO GamblingCompliance touted the windfall of revenue and tax money that could be realized if casino gambling were to be so readily accessible.
In New York’s case, the report contends, the iGaming gross gaming revenue potential would be $1.157 billion a year and tax collections would be $428.2 million. Estimates were based on a tax rate of 20% and an assumption that revenue is generated on an overall average of $139.50 per adult state resident.
If iGaming could produce more tax revenue for the state than the best betting apps NY, it could be win-win.
A VIXIO GamblingCompliance projection of iGaming revenue and potential tax revenue for New York:
New Yorkers have already demonstrated an appetite for using computers and mobile devices to gamble. After online NY sports betting was launched in January 2022, New York shattered records for wagering handle among the states that offer such wagering. Correspondingly, the state is well on its way to collecting more than half-a-billion dollars this calendar year.
Some iGaming Concerns in NY
However, there are complications. For one, New York has a concurrent effort underway for three downstate (read Greater New York City area) full Las Vegas-style casinos. There are arguments — albeit occasionally rebutted — that online casino gambling cannibalizes from brick-and-mortar casinos.
Then, there is the additional concern that iCasino heightens the jeopardy of increased gambling addiction, a worry even some iCasino advocates voice, such as State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
In addition, NY NFL betting at the start of the regular season will be available for the first time. The state launched sports betting on Jan. 8, the final weekend of the NFL season.
More Funding for Problem Gambling?
At a recent gaming conference in North Jersey, Addabbo said: “We knew when we introduced mobile sports betting in New York that it would cause an increase in problem gambling issues, but we were prepared for that eventuality.”
Addabbo added that with iGaming, more funding can be channeled to preventing and treating problem gambling.
“If we can get rid of the fear of coming forward with a gambling problem, we can get people the help that they need to overcome their addiction,” he said. “It is my hope that by funding these free vital programs we are able to reach more people and have a greater impact on the state.”
A compelling point in the push for iCasino in New York is that the state is adjacent to several other states that already have it, namely New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and New Yorkers who want to play, say, online blackjack or slots, do have that option. And losing revenue to a neighboring jurisdiction is often a difference-maker in lawmakers’ decisions.