A Click Away: Online gambling in New York is still a work in progress

The business of gambling, while more often associated with Atlantic City than the Empire State, is seeing a massive expansion in New York. An amendment to the state constitution in 2013 allowed casino gambling outside Indian reservations and expanded horse tracks into full-fledged commercial institutions. But another realm of the industry is lagging behind:online gambling.

Since 2011, when the U.S. Justice Department issued an opinion stating that the federal Wire Act, which bans certain types of gambling, actually permits states to legalize it online, New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada have set up their own online gambling systems through casino-run websites. But in New York, online gaming, as its supporters call it, is still a work in progress.

Currently, the only legal gambling New Yorkers can do online is through purchased subscriptions to certain state lotteries and online bets on horse racing that occurs within the state. But state Sen. John Bonacic introduced a measure last year that seeks to legalize Internet versions of Texas Hold ’em and Omaha Hold ’em poker. The bill, which has companion legislation introduced by Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, is still in committee and wouldn’t allow any games of chance, such as blackjack and roulette, like New Jersey does. But as one of the big supporters of the new casinos going up across the state, Bonacic sees online gambling as a necessary factor in the gambling equation, especially with young people.

“If we are going to be in gaming as a revenue enhancer for the state … I believe that what you are going to see is that the (millennial generation) doesn’t care to visit as much mortar and brick as the older generation,” Bonacic said. “So if you’re in the gaming business and you’re going to invest substantial private dollars, you’ve got to attract the (millennials).”

It would appear, however, that New Yorkers of all generations seem open to the idea of gambling from their computers. An April 2014 poll from Global Strategy Group, commissioned by casino developers Caesars and MGM, found 75 percent of voters thought individual states should be able to decide whether to allow online poker. But that support doesn’t seem to be translating to the Legislature, where hearings on the issue have been sparsely attended by members of the state Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering.

At one of those hearings on Sept. 9, one of the main concerns brought up by the three senators in attendance was whether online poker would actually help or hurt casinos. An H2 Gambling Capital analysis determined that as much as $110 million in revenue is generated through illegal online poker games in New York and that a legalized online poker system could generate $50 million to $80 million in annual taxes. But most revenue might not go to the brick-and-mortar casinos themselves.

“The online gaming customer is a different customer than the land-based customer,” Tom Balance, president of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, testified at the hearing. “We find that the online customer ... they’re playing for 15 minutes, 20 minutes at a time. In order to make the commitment to come to a land-based casino, you’ve got to get up, get dressed, shower, drive there, you’ve got to make a big commitment, so you’re going to be there for a long time. The online customer is more of a nibbler.”

In New Jersey, which initially predicted that online gambling would raise $150 million in taxes in its first year, revenues actually averaged around $10 million a month, with only 18 percent of total revenue coming from online poker.

But while casinos in the Atlantic City area have been struggling to bring in customers, Bonacic and Pretlow both argue that online users are not hurting brick-and-mortar casinos.

“What I’ve found in talking to the professionals from Jersey, from Vegas … it’s that they do (online gaming) to attract people to come into the actual casinos, but they gain revenue also from online gaming,” Bonacic said. “One doesn’t hurt the other.”

All of this could be moot, however, if online gambling opponents have their way at the national level. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire political megadonor and chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., is pushing for Congress to pass the the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, which would ban regulated online gambling. The bill, sponsored in the Senate in 2014 by Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, is currently stalled in committee, but supporters of the bill have considered changing it to place a moratorium on future online gambling projects instead of an across-the-board ban, which could make it more viable in 2016.

Either way, the issue of online gambling has taken a back seat in New York as lawmakers focus on setting up the new casinos.

“(Online gambling) won’t happen this year,” Pretlow said. “I’ve been very public in stating that it won’t be approved in New York until at least all the casinos are up and running, and they have to be a part of it and the racinos have to be a part of it.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.