Whenever there’s a deficit, there’s always a way to alleviate the lack — especially when it comes to state budgets. And when it comes to New York’s looming budget deficit, there’s one state senator whose eyes and hopes are set on iGaming as a rescue plan.
That senator is Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr.
But let’s first take a glimpse at why the Empire State’s budget needs a boost.
New York’s Big Budget Gap
In June 2023, WXXI — an NPR-member station based in Rochester, NY — reported that the forecast for New York’s budget deficit in 2024 is $9 billion. That projection was $4 billion more than NY Governor Kathy Hochul’s estimate from earlier in the year. Contributing to the state’s gap, for example, is New York’s overspending as a result of COVID-19.
This same report also notes to get the budget back on track, Hochul’s aim is to curb spending as a means to decrease strain on the state’s economy.
However, Sen. Addabbo is proposing a different game plan: iGaming, to be specific.
The Senator’s Big Wager
Meet New York State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-15), Chairman of Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering. One of NY’s most vocal backers of iGaming and mobile sports betting, Addabbo considers these markets vehicles for expanding the state’s revenue.
Addabbo Jr., son of 13-term United States House of Representative member Joseph Addabbo Sr., has been quoted as saying that, regarding iGaming, the timing is “perfect.”
Perfect in part because, according to Addabbo, iGaming platforms like peer-to-peer poker could be taxed at his proposed 30.5% rate. This would, by some estimates, generate $1 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state.
The Numbers Add Up Nationally
And Addabbo’s proposal, if passed, could be the best bet for the state.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported $163.8 million of iGaming and sports betting revenue for Sept. 2023. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s Sept. 2023 report revealed that the state racked up more than $170 million in online bets. iGaming revenue in Pennsylvania over the month totaled more than $159 million.
New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania all neighbor New York.
Addabbo wants to keep that revenue in his state.
New York’s Next Steps
Sen. Addabbo says that he hopes Gov. Hochul will at least be open to “dialogue and negotiation.”
He plans to introduce the bill at the end of this year ahead of January’s session. And supporters of both iGaming and decreased deficits likely have their sights set on a greener New York in 2024.