Casino News

Queens Casino Staff Disapprove iGaming Expansion in New York

Recently hundreds of workers from Resorts World New York City in Queens have expressed their discontent with the efforts to legalize online gambling in the Empire State. The staff members are unhappy with Sen. Joe Addabbo who has been pushing for the expansion since 2019, as they are concerned that the digitalization could hurt their jobs.

Mr. Addabbo seeks to expand legal gambling offerings and build on the success of online sports betting which kicked off in the state in January 2022 and is a major success. However, when Gob. Kathy Hochul announced her executive budget for 2024, she left out iGaming. Still, Mr. Addabbo stayed optimistic and said there is still hope for iCasinos.

iGaming Would Affect Land-based Operations and Jobs

Workers from the Queens casino signed a letter against the iGaming legalization efforts. It read that the staff members find it appalling that lawmakers are pushing legislation that would hurt workers and their industry to benefit a handful of companies who seek significant profits at the land-based employees’ expense.

Additionally, staff members believe that gamblers will prefer to bet online instead of visiting land-based gaming properties. The letter explained that when people wager in a brick-and-mortar casino, they support workers’ jobs. But when doing it from their phones, the revenue will be channelled into the pockets of gaming companies and it will not support thousands of livelihoods.

Bhav Tibrewal, political director of the Hotel & Gaming Trades Council union remarked the iGaming proposal undercuts the best about casinos in the Empire State, which is permanent high-quality jobs for New Yorkers. He added that the union has re-stated its opposition to online gaming and now it is time for Mr. Addabbo and other legislators to start hearing from casino workers.

It was reported that Mr. Addabbo has gotten 35 campaign contributions of around US$77k from online casino operators and associates including DraftKings and FanDuel. He also defended his iGaming bill and said the introduction of regulated online card games is inevitable, as neighbouring states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania already offer iGaming.

In the meantime, mobile sports betting gaming companies which operate in New York have also called for the legalization of digital casinos. The Sports Betting Alliance, consisting of DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Fanatics recently launched a 30-second ad on TV and digital channels highlighting the economic benefits of launching online gambling in the Empire State.

Addiction is also on the Rise

However, there is another reason for New York to be careful when adding iGaming to the mix. Recently, the New York Council on Problem Gambling has reported an uptick in gambling-related requests for help, particularly from younger individuals and their parents, indicating that a worrying trend of gambling addiction could be creeping in the youth.

Source: Campanile, Carl “NYC casino workers bash bill that would legalize online betting in the Empire StateNew York Post, February 18, 2024