Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not a matter of if, but when, for New York iGaming legalization following the massive success the Empire State has experienced through online sports betting.

But when could the state actually push iGaming legislation through the finish line?

One New York Senator and three top leaders in the iGaming field discussed New York’s iGaming legalization efforts at SBC Summit North America. While opinions were split on when iGaming would come into the fold, all agreed that the state would eventually legalize online casino gaming.

2024 or beyond…depending on who you ask

Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. (D-15), one of the major proponents of online sports betting legalization efforts, was bullish on the state’s chances for legalizing iGaming in 2024.

“This will be hotly debated issue in next year’s budget. New York is sitting on a billion dollars in iGaming revenue, money that can be used for transportation or healthcare, two major parts of the state budget, because it’s unspoken for funding,” Addabbo said at the summit.

Addabbo Jr. introduced an iGaming bill this year, but the legislation did not gain much traction. His iGaming bill, S4856, attempted to legalize online casino gaming, including slots, table games, and live dealer games. The bill included a 30.5% iGaming tax rate. Most states average between 15% to 18% for their iGaming tax rates.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) did not include iGaming revenues in her state budget and the bill did not move forward.

But the Senator has made it clear that iGaming will be a priority of his in 2024. If legalized in 2024, it’s likely that iGaming would launch in the state by early 2025.

Katie Peters, Public Policy Senior Vice President of FanDuel, shared in Addabbo’s optimism and predicted the state would legalize iGaming in 2024 as well.

But not all of the panelists shared in their enthusiasm. George Rover, Managing Partner of Princeton Global Strategies, and Lee Terfloth, Chief Operating Officer of Out the Gate, both predicted it will take New York years to legalize online casino gaming.

Why the pessimism? Three words…downstate casino licenses.

“I believe the political efforts will focus more on the brick-and-mortar casinos. I think iGaming will take a few years to get done,” Terfloth said.

Hochul’s last signed state budget included three licenses for downstate New York casinos. The casinos can be located in the five boroughs, Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley.

New York City, of course, has long been eyed by developers and casino owners as a potential location for new facilities.

The New York State Gaming Commission will receive proposals for casinos and determine the license awards through a competitive bidding process, much like it did for online sports betting licenses.

While there are three licenses up for grabs, Rover said this afternoon that two are likely already spoken for. He noted that general sentiment believes that Aqueduct Racetrack and Yonkers will likely receive two of the available licenses, leaving just one available for at least a dozen or more proposals that will be submitted later this year.

New York sitting on a billion in revenue

New York has the potential to generate $1 billion annually from iGaming if approved and legislated correctly, Addabbo noted.

While the market will be huge, his fellow panelists made sure to note that a proper tax rate would go a long way to maturing the New York iGaming market.

Look at New Jersey, Peters said, as the Garden State taxes iGaming at rate of 15%.

“When you have a low tax rate, it incentivizes investment and you get more people playing more quickly. I’d suggest New York look very closely at New Jersey for how that’s done,” she said.

Covering regulatory developments in online gambling throughout this fine country.