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NY could net $400M if pols legalized internet casino gaming

New York State is losing an estimated $400 million in annual tax revenue by refusing to legalize gambling for internet casino games like roulette and Blackjack.

The Empire State could be raking in $428 million annually if the state legislature and Gov. Kathy Hochul approved a bill permitting “iGaming” casino-style games, according to a new report released Tuesday by VIXIO GamblingCompliance.

Like mobile sports betting, iGaming allows individuals to play slot and table games on their phones. 

But the analysis argues once legal, tax profits from internet gaming could exceed the state’s already booming mobile sports wagering industry, which netted over $300 million as of July within its first six months of operation.

The report was commissioned by Light and Wonder, a Las Vegas-based digital gaming company where Howard Glaser – a former aide to ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo – serves as the head of government affairs and legislative counsel.

A bill introduced by State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Queens) and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) in February would legalize the practice.

Photo of: New York State Governor Kathy Hochul (Democratic Party) at 365 5th Avenue in Manhattan to address public officials.
If Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state legislature approved “iGaming” casino-style games, New York could benefit to the tune of $428 million annually.

“We are missing the ball here. By not doing iGaming at this point. It would stop the flow of money into other states and into the illegal market,” he said during a phone interview 

“And, we’re looking for more revenue for education and the opportunity to help those with an addiction.”

He said he hasn’t yet taken the issue up with Hochul.

Person playing online poker and looking winning cards.
Like mobile sports betting, iGaming allows individuals to play slot and table games on their phones.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Right now, just five states –  Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia – have legalized “iGaming.”

Nevada also allows a limited option, by permitting online poker.

In 2021, combined tax revenue from those six states amounted to an industry worth a total of $970 million. 

Steve Cohen addresses the fans before the game as the New York Mets had a ceremony unveiling a Statue of former Met Tom Seaver.
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is hoping to build a casino in a New York City tourist spot.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The push comes as New York is on the cusp of opening up the bidding process for three, valuable, downstate commercial casino licenses.

Already, top developers and gaming companies – like Mets owner Steve Cohen – are jockeying for the right to build a casino in hot spots like Times Square and Hudson Yards.

They’ll need the greenlight from a local siting board before any ground is broken.

New York is expected to make at least a combined $1.5 billion for all three casino licenses – in addition to slot and table game tax revenues. 

Addabbo said legalized iGaming makes the commercial casino licenses even more valuable because would-be online slot players would be required to cast their luck within the confines of the brick-and-mortar gambling parlor. 

“It’s more of an incentive. It makes it more valuable to have these licenses,” he told The Post.

The analysis looked at the revenue generated in the states with legalized iGaming over a 12-month period, per adult over the age of 18, according to 2020 US Census Bureau data.

A blanket 20 percent of gross tax revenue was applied – the median tax of each state with legal internet table games.

New York would see that $428 revenue forecast once the program hits “maturity” in a two to three-year period, per the report.

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