Igaming in New York has been a hot topic for years, with supporters advocating for its legalization. A recent push by state senator Joseph Addabbo to introduce Senate Bill S8185 seemed promising, but was soon dampened when New York governor Kathy Hochul decided not to include igaming in the state’s budget for 2025.

Howard Glaser, head of government affairs and legislative counsel at Light & Wonder, is a firm believer in New York’s potential as a thriving igaming market. He pointed out that New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan have all seen great success with igaming, with revenues reaching billions of dollars.

Addabbo described the bill as a starting point for negotiations during the budget process in New York, highlighting its 30.5% tax rate and funds to protect existing casino jobs and problem gaming programs. While the bill has garnered support, its absence from the state’s budget presents a challenge.

Addabbo remains optimistic, hoping to continue discussions during the budget negotiations. Glaser also sees a glimmer of hope, emphasizing that if the legislature includes igaming in their versions of the budget, the governor is likely to sign off on it.

The biggest challenge, according to Glaser, lies within the state’s labor unions. He stressed the need to convince land-based venues that igaming will benefit the casino market and provide sustainable revenue in the face of a worsening fiscal situation.

While New York’s journey towards legalizing igaming has been tumultuous, there is still hope for its future. Despite the ups and downs, the drive to introduce igaming in New York remains strong, with supporters like Addabbo and Glaser continuing to rally behind its potential as a significant gaming market.

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