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New York Casino Workers Oppose iGaming Legalization

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The topic of legalizing online gambling in New York has been under discussion for several years. Senator Joseph Addabbo has been pursuing its legalization since 2019, and despite setbacks with earlier proposals, this month, he introduced Senate Bill 8185, aiming to legalize iLottery and iGaming in the state.

The introduction of iGaming and iLottery is intended to expand the range of gambling options for New Yorkers. Following the hugely successful New York online sports betting market launch in 2022, the state has revenue records regularly broken. As such, it is thought that a large amount of tax revenue would be generated if online casino gambling was also legalized.

Opposition from Land-Based Industry

However, the idea of legalizing iGaming has not been universally welcomed. The Hotel & Gaming Trades Council union, representing workers from Resorts World casino, has expressed worries in regards to how legal iGaming would impact brick-and-mortar casinos in the Big Apple.

Nearly 700 employees from brick-and-mortar casinos have voiced opposition to the iGaming proposal, highlighting the potential jeopardy to their jobs.

We find it appalling that you are pushing legislation that would hurt workers like us and our industry in order to benefit a handful of companies who are seeking massive profits at our expense.

LetterHotel & Gaming Trades Council Union

The letter explains that land-gambling proceeds help support a huge number of people including hotel workers, chefs, wait staff, bar staff, and so on. It argues that the ability to gamble online would result in significantly reduced traffic to land-casinos.

Counterarguments from Senator Addabbo

However, Senator Addabbo disagrees and argues that the legalization of online gambling is inevitable. Furthermore, he highlighted how a legal iGaming market could generate annual revenue of up to $1 billion.

Furthermore, Sen. Addabbo suggests that online gambling would not diminish job opportunities within the retail casino sector. He said that approximately $25 million per year would be allocated to safeguard casino industry jobs, and iGaming dealers would be included in the state’s union representation.

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