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New York’s Online Casino Legalization Faces Uphill Battle Without Governor’s Support

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New York Online Casino Legalization Faces Uphill Battle Without Governor’s Support

The exclusion of online casino revenue from New York Governor Kathy Hochul‘s executive budget has cast a shadow of uncertainty over the future of iGaming legalization in the Empire State. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, a key figure in the state’s gaming legislation, believes that the omission makes it unlikely for online casino gambling to gain ground in New York this year.

Pretlow candidly remarked, “I don’t see it going in the budget this year. More than likely, it won’t be in the Assembly one-house budget either. It wouldn’t be for a lack of trying; that’s just how things are shaping up.” He expressed his pessimism about the prospects of iGaming passing in the following year as well, citing the current administration’s lukewarm attitude towards gaming.

He elaborated, “It’s probably not happening in 2025 unless there is a serious budget shortfall. The powers that be on the second floor, including the governor’s office, aren’t enthusiastic about gaming at the moment. I don’t believe she’s a great fan of it right now. The last couple of governors weren’t gaming enthusiasts either. She needs to be convinced.”

The Difficulty of Overcoming Budget Exclusion

Governor Hochul unveiled her executive budget on January 16, and the absence of online casino provisions did not take lawmakers by surprise. Pretlow clarified, “I didn’t expect her to include it in this budget. Even though there is a deficit, we can manage the budget this year without raising taxes. If a serious budget crunch were looming, the situation might be different. However, under the current circumstances, they don’t see it as a pressing need.”

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Pretlow highlighted the complexity of introducing a substantial revenue-generating item when it is not part of the executive budget. Since the governor presented a balanced spending plan, any additional revenue would not serve to fill a fiscal gap.

Determining how to allocate tax revenue for iGaming and iLottery would be another challenge for the Senate and House. Pretlow explained, “If we include it in our one-house budget, we must allocate it. We won’t add it to our budget just to create a surplus. The real question becomes, what should we spend it on? If, for instance, the Senate wishes to allocate it to a new football stadium for the Giants to return to New York, while the Assembly prefers a different allocation, reaching an agreement becomes elusive.”

Historically, major revenue additions, such as sports betting or online casino gambling, have only materialized in New York when the governor endorsed them from the outset. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo resisted online sports betting legislation for years until recognizing its revenue potential for his 2021-22 budget.

New York’s projected budget deficit for the 2025-26 fiscal year is estimated at $9 billion, potentially creating an opportunity for revisiting the issue in the near future. Pretlow concluded, “There needs to be a budget gap, and perhaps that’s on the horizon for next year. I approach this one step at a time.”

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A Persistent Push for iGaming

Despite the hurdles, New York Senator Joe Addabbo remains dedicated to the iGaming cause. He introduced SB 8185, which incorporates online casino language, emphasizing its potential to generate over a billion dollars in tax revenue for the state. Addabbo’s unwavering commitment may play a pivotal role in convincing Governor Hochul of the benefits of legalizing online casino gambling, even in the absence of executive budget inclusion.

Pretlow affirmed, “Sen. Addabbo has been vigorously advocating for this, and it makes sense for us to follow suit. Our data indicates that it can significantly boost state tax revenue when fully implemented. Furthermore, it would complement mobile sports betting, as demonstrated in New Jersey and other states that have both.”

Addabbo had previously expressed that he would not continue pressing for iGaming this year if there was no support from other quarters. In particular, he would not advocate for online casino inclusion in the Senate one-house budget if the governor and Assembly did not show support by March. However, based on the exclusion from the executive budget, Addabbo remains committed and determined to advance the iGaming cause.

“I’m not ready to give up on this yet,” Addabbo asserted. “The state’s fiscal condition next year might necessitate a substantial source of revenue.” He also revealed plans to unveil ten compelling facts about iGaming in a bid to persuade Governor Hochul to reconsider her stance on legalizing New York online casino gambling.

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Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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Legislation

Maryland Bill Seeks to Ban Online Gambling on College Campuses

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Maryland Bill Aims to Prohibit College Campus Gambling

As a seasoned gambling professional, staying abreast of legislative developments is paramount to understanding the evolving regulatory landscape. Maryland has recently garnered attention with the introduction of House Bill 1087, signalling a bold move to curtail online gambling activities on college campuses within the state. In this in-depth analysis, we delve into the intricacies of the proposed legislation, exploring its objectives, potential implications, and the broader implications for the gambling industry.

House Bill 1087, introduced in Maryland, seeks to prohibit online gambling on college campuses, underscoring concerns about the proliferation of gambling activities among students. The bill mandates the establishment of virtual perimeters, known as “geofences,” around college campuses to block access to online sportsbooks via cell phones. This proactive measure aims to mitigate the negative impact of gambling on campus communities and safeguard student welfare.

Under HB 1087, four-year public institutions, Baltimore City Community College, and local community colleges in Maryland are tasked with contracting geolocation service companies partnered with licensed sports betting operators. These institutions must implement the virtual perimeters by August 1, 2024, ensuring strict enforcement of the proposed ban on campus gambling. While the bill anticipates increased expenses for colleges, it asserts no revenue impact, emphasizing its primary objective of promoting a safe and responsible campus environment.

Despite the bill’s noble intentions, concerns have emerged regarding the practicality of enforcing geofences on college campuses. Towson University, a prominent public university in Maryland, has voiced apprehensions about the feasibility of implementing geolocation restrictions effectively. Challenges such as geolocation accuracy, mobile device settings, ethical considerations, and private network usage pose significant obstacles to enforcement, raising questions about the efficacy of the proposed legislation.

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Maryland’s foray into sports betting in November 2022 marked a significant milestone in the state’s gambling landscape, with ten operators, including industry giants like FanDuel and ESPN Bet, entering the market. However, the introduction of HB 1087 underscores a shift in regulatory focus towards addressing emerging concerns surrounding gambling accessibility and its potential impact on vulnerable populations, particularly college students.

As the debate surrounding House Bill 1087 unfolds, it prompts crucial discussions about the intersection of gambling, education, and regulatory oversight. While advocates argue for stringent measures to combat problem gambling and protect student well-being, critics raise valid concerns about the practicality and effectiveness of geofencing solutions. Ultimately, Maryland’s legislative initiative serves as a microcosm of broader efforts to strike a balance between consumer protection and industry growth in the ever-evolving landscape of online gambling regulation.

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