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Sen. Joe Addabbo Upset Over Rejection of iGaming Legalization

New York State Senator Joe Addabbo is far from happy with the latest developments regarding the legalization of online gaming in the Empire State. It was recently revealed that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget plan for 2023-24 does not include the legalization of iGaming in the state, which was a top priority for Mr. Addabbo in the current legislative session.

Last year the Senator vowed to make the introduction of online gaming his number one priority for the 2023-24 fiscal budget, however, his plan did not go according to plan. His idea is to legalize interactive gambling in the state, as a way of stopping New Yorkers from pouring money into illegal and offshore gaming sites or fleeing to neighbouring states that offer it legally.

There’s Still a Way

However, even after his unsuccessful attempt to introduce online gaming to the state’s legal offerings, the Senator says that there is still a way. This could be done via the one-budget via the Senate and Assembly. Mr. Addabbo said that the facts must be accepted and move forward, but in his words, it will be another year of money lost to illegal websites or nearby states.

The lawmaker said that New Yorkers’ participation in online gaming is unavoidable and when they use illegal platforms to do it, it becomes much more difficult for the state to help them with addictions. One of the main obstacles to the launch of interactive gaming in the state would be to make sure that compulsive gambling will not be a reoccurring problem.

Back in December 2022, Mr. Addabbo admitted that the largest obstacle for iGaming would be addiction since in his words is trickier than sports betting. It would also require more funds and more in-tune with the Office of Addiction Services and Support. He also noted that the exclusion of the suggestion from the plan will not resolve problem gambling.

He added that without legalized iGaming, fewer funds are being generated to aid problem gamblers. He estimated that for the first year, the offering would have brought around US$2 billion in the first year, then around US$3 billion every year would be lost if the state does not legalize it. In addition to that, this would also mean less help and funds for tackling problem gambling.

Rise of Problem Gambling is Already an Issue

Just recently, the New York Council on Problem Gambling reported that more and more young adults from the state have sought help regarding their compulsive gambling habits. The council cited that mobile sports betting and the expansion of gaming in the state had been the reason for an increase in the number of 18- to 24-year-olds who have now become pathological gamblers.

That is why democrats Luis R. Sepúlveda and Leroy Comrie want to incorporate protective measures into the state’s gambling commercials. In January, the two lawmakers presented Senate Bill S1550 which would require all gambling and sports betting ads to include warnings about possible negative effects of gaming, as well as the New York problem gambling hotline number 1-877-8-HOPENY.