Employees at Resorts World New York have taken a stand against the state’s proposed iGaming legislation, citing concerns over potential job losses and adverse industry impacts.
The employees voiced their opposition in a letter sent to state senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., who last month reintroduced legislation that would legalise iGaming in New York.
The letter was signed by by around 700 employees of the casino in Queens and sent under the letterhead of the Hotel & Gaming Trades Council, according to the New York Post.
“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,” the letter said.
Addabbo has long championed iGaming, arguing that legislation could help alleviate New York’s expanding budget shortfall.
Into the pockets of gaming companies
Nonetheless, the workers expressed a different opinion. Ultimately, they argued that online bettors won’t patronise physical casinos, impacting various job sectors such as hospitality and maintenance.
“When customers come to a racino, VLT [Video Lottery Terminal] parlour, or casino, they support all of our jobs, including cooks, bartenders, servers, maintenance workers, and hotel workers,” the letter said.
“We know that if, instead, they were to game from their homes, workplaces, or elsewhere, their dollars would go straight into the pockets of gaming companies, rather than to support the livelihoods of thousands of New Yorkers who support the state’s gaming industry.”
The union’s political director Bhav Tibrewal added: “This iGaming proposal undercuts the best thing about casino gaming in New York: permanent, high-quality jobs that New Yorkers can live and retire on.
“We’ve stated and re-stated our opposition to iGaming to Senator Addabbo and now it’s time for him and other legislators to start hearing it directly from casino workers.”
No significant cannibalisation effects
A recent study from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG) suggested that iGaming complements rather than competes with traditional land-based casino revenue streams.
The study, which analysed the growth rates of both physical and online casinos across the six US states where iGaming is legal, revealed a 2.44% quarterly increase in revenue for brick-and-mortar establishments following the implementation of online gaming regulations.
Additionally, the research highlighted the distinct demographic profile of iGaming players, who tend to be younger and more predominantly male compared to their counterparts at land-based casinos.
Moreover, feedback from casino operators indicated no significant cannibalisation effects on their traditional revenue streams as a result of the introduction of iGaming options.
Resorts World New York City is expected to be one of the applicants for three downstate casino licences.
US daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator PrizePicks has agreed to pay a $15m settlement to the New York State Gaming Commission for operating in the state without a licence.
The company has also pledged to terminate its for-money contest products in the state from 14 February after it was ruled to have violated New York state law.
The $15m settlement is based on the revenue PrizePicks generated through purported fantasy contests from New York customers between June 2019 and December 2023.
The penalty also includes a calculation based on the number of days the contests were offered, according to the document, which was co-signed by PrizePicks and the NYSGC.
The document states that PrizePicks does not hold a temporary permit from the regulator to operator fantasy contents in New York and is not authorised to do so under Article 14 of the state’s Racing Law.
PrizePicks is still eligible to apply for a licence in New York in the future.
As part of the ruling, PrizePicks said it operated in New York in a “good-faith belief that it had the ability to do so”.
A spokesperson for PrizePicks told ESPN, which first reported the story, that the company plans to pursue a licence to offer its peer-to-peer product in New York.
“As safer, skill-based DFS contests like ours rise in popularity, we will work constructively with policymakers on thoughtful legislation that allows New Yorkers to play the contests they love, ensure strong consumer safeguards, and generates tax revenue for the state,” a PrizePicks spokesperson was attributed as saying.
In October, New York clarified its position on DFS and said it would prohibit fantasy contests based on prop betting.
Indeed, the landscape for prop-style DFS operators has become increasingly complex in recent months, amid similar clampdowns in Florida and Michigan.
Penn Entertainment has agreed a $25m deal to acquire Wynn Resorts’ New York licences.
Penn said the agreement, pending regulatory approvals, will allow its ESPN Bet brand to launch in the Empire State in 2024.
Under the terms, Penn will acquire Wynn’s WSI US, LLC subsidiary for $25m, the entity which holds WynnBet licences as issued by the New York State Gaming Commission.
These licences will provide Penn with mobile sports betting market access for the state. This would see ESPN Bet become one of New York’s nine available online sports betting brands.
Current active brands comprise FanDuel, DraftKings, Bally Bet, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, Fanatics Sportsbook, Resorts World Bet and BetRivers.
“This is an important development that will bring ESPN Bet to the largest regulated online sports wagering market in North America,” said Penn CEO and president Jay Snowden.
“Together with ESPN, we’re building a brand that is synonymous with sports betting, and operating in the New York market is key as we grow ESPN Bet across the US.”
Wynn Resorts scales back online ambitions
There has been previous hints that Wynn was planning on exiting New York.
In August 2023, the casino operator announced it would exit at least eight states due to high required marketing spend and a dearth of iGaming legislation.
Instead, the company said it aimed to primarily focus on states where it had a physical presence through its land-based casinos, principally Nevada.
Meanwhile WynnBet’s Michigan and New York operations were placed “under review”.
Some had speculated the company was waiting to see whether its bid for one of the upcoming down-state casino licences was successful before deciding whether to exit the state.
The news comes in the wake of another record month for New York, which reported $1.96bn in January 2024. This represents an 11.5% rise from the previous year.
New York has historically represented something of a dilemma for operators. While the state features a large and wealthy population, a 51% tax on revenue stands at the highest in the country.
The big question for the state is whether iGaming legislation efforts will be successful, which would greatly increase the long-term revenue potential of the state.
Last month, Wynn confirmed that WynnBet would be exiting its ninth state, Massachusetts.
New York has once again broken its online sports betting revenue record in January, with licensed operators combining to generate $211.5m in GGR.
This marked a 12.3% increase from the previous record of $188.3m set last month in December 2023.
Handle for the month reached $1.96bn, representing an 11.5% annual increase from January 2023 ($1.79bn) but a 2.3% sequential decrease on December 2023 ($2.04bn).
However, January marked the end of a streak where New York bettors consistently wagered more than $2bn on online sports betting for three months straight, starting October 2023.
Flutter Entertainment’s FanDuel brand continues to lead the pack.
Last month, FanDuel generated $109.2m in online sports betting revenue, marking the highest figure ever reported by a single operator in New York, handling $867.1m in wagers for January.
Meanwhile, DraftKings secured second spot with $71m in revenue, also marking its highest monthly total to date. The operator took bets totalling $664.8m.
Caesars Sportsbook secured third place, generating $13.6m in revenue from $198m in bets throughout the month.
Following closely was BetMGM with $10m in revenue from a $118.8m handle, trailed by Rush Street Interactive with $3.5m from $50.1m.
PointsBet came next, reporting revenue of $2.6m and a handle of $31.7m.
Resorts World Bet recorded $752,478 from $6.9m in bets, while Bally Bet reported $425,689 in revenue from a $9.4m handle.
Wynn Interactive concluded the market rankings with $358,497 in revenue from an $8.8m total spend.
Last month, fresh legislation was lodged to bring iGaming to New York as State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. reintroduced a bill aimed at legalising online casino in the state.
The proposed Senate Bill S4856 outlines provisions for operators to offer online casino services for a single license fee of $2m, with iGaming revenue subject to a 30.5% tax rate.
However, a potential tax windfall from iGaming was not included in New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2025 budget, striking a sizeable blow to any near-term legislative prospects.
Las Vegas Sands (LVS) has generated net revenue of $2.9bn in Q4 2023, which represents a year-on-year increase of 161%.
Consolidated adjusted property EBITDA reached $1.2bn, with Macau contributing $654m to the total and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands adding $544m.
LVS chairman and CEO Robert G. Goldstein commented: “We were extremely pleased with our financial and operating results for the quarter, which reflect the ongoing improvement in the operating environment in both Macau and Singapore.”
A $40bn market?
LVS stressed that in Macau, the recovery continued during the quarter following the removal of all remaining Covid-19 measures in the region.
“There is an ongoing speculation of the future growth of Macau. Can the Macau market grow to $30bn, $35bn, even $40bn and beyond?
“We believe that it will. This underscores our confidence in the returns that we generated by the capital investment programmes in our portfolio,” Goldstein said during the conference call.
“We are staunch believers in the growth of the Macau market in the near and long-term,” he added, highlighting that LVS has invested $15bn in Macau to date.
Meanwhile, in Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands “once again delivered outstanding levels of financial and operating performance,” Goldstein said.
“Our new suite product and elevated service offerings position us well as airlift capacity continues to improve and the recovery in travel and tourism spending from China and the wider region continues to advance.”
New York licence update
Goldstein also commented on LVS’ New York plans. “We’re receiving strong local support,” he said.
He added that the cost of the building would be in the $6bn range. LVS previously suggested a budget of between $4bn and $5bn for building the resort.
“This is a massive opportunity. We are very enthused about the prospect. Our bid is compelling. If we receive the licence, we’d be in the ground as quickly as possible,” Goldstein said.
Looking to the future, COO Patrick Dumont emphasised the company’s investment-driven approach.
He said: “The more we invest in high-quality assets, the better service levels we have, the more we’re going to have pricing, the more we’re going to differentiate our product, the more we’re going to have high-value tourists and the more our EBITDA and margins will grow.”
For full-year 2023, LVS reported revenue of $10.4bn, marking a substantial 154% increase from 2022, along with an adjusted property EBITDA of $4.1bn, up 485.8% on 2022.
New York governor Kathy Hochul has faced criticism for appointing the daughter of a prominent gaming lobbyist to the state gambling regulator’s board.
Government watchdogs questioned Hochul’s decision to appoint Marissa Shorenstein, the daughter of prominent gambling lobbyist Stuart Shorenstein, to the New York State Gaming Commission’s (NYSGC) oversight board.
John Kaehny, executive director of non-profit government accountability and transparency group Reinvent Albany, told the New York Post he believed it was inappropriate to appoint the Harvard graduate to the same commission charged with regulating the clients of her father.
“This is a head shaker. This is planet Albany,” Kaehny said.
“Why appoint Shorenstein to something directly related to her father’s job? There are so many boards and commissions the governor could have appointed Shorenstein to. Why appoint her to the one that raises red flags? It’s absurd.”
Stuart Shorenstein is a veteran lobbyist who has previously represented Evolution, as well as the Hudson Bay Company, the Canadian retail giant applying for one of the state’s upcoming three casino licences.
In 2021, Evolution was accused by an unnamed competitor of breaching US sanctions by offering games in blacklisted countries including Iran and Syria. Evolution denied the accusation.
Stuart Shorenstein involved in 2021 OSB legalisation
The lobbyist was also involved in the push to legalise mobile sports betting, according to Joseph Addabbo Jr., chair of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering and a well-known state gambling proponent.
Recently, Hochul opted not to include iGaming revenue or taxes in her 2025 budget, marking a blow for senator Addabbo Jr.’s tabled mobile casino bill.
The bill includes a provision that would ban any companies from taking part that had taken revenue from the US’ “Black List of Money Laundering Countries”.
Marissa Shorenstein is involved in the state’s Democratic Party politics, serving as head of Hochul’s transition team following the 2021 election, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s director of communications.
At present, the strategy and communications professional is the chief external affairs officer for entertainment company BSE Global. This followed other past roles in the private sector including at AT&T and strategic communications specialist SDKD.
However, Shorenstein was defended by an NYSGC official who highlighted her depth of experience.
“Marissa Shorenstein is a highly-qualified individual with decades of leadership in the public and private sector, who has always abided by the highest ethical standards on the Gaming Commission,” said deputy executive director Lee Park. “It’s shameful that anonymous critics are making sensational allegations.”
Park added that Shorenstein had recused herself from dealing with any cases involving her father’s clients or firm.
The official also emphasised that the Independent Gaming Facility Location Board will make the final decision about awarding the three downstate casino licences, and not the commission.
NEXT: NYC, the foremost summit for the online gambling and sports betting industry, is thrilled to announce New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. as a keynote speaker for its 2024 edition.
The event, set to convene industry leaders, innovators, and enthusiasts, will take place in Lower Manhattan on the 6-7th March 2024 with 1,000 delegates expected to attend.
Senator Addabbo has been a pivotal figure in the transformation of New York’s betting landscape, championing the legalisation of sports betting across the state.
His dedication and forward-thinking policies have not only revitalised the industry, but have also set a benchmark for regulatory frameworks nationwide.
In his keynote address, moderated by Bill Pascrell III, partner of Princeton Public Affairs Group, the senator will share invaluable insights from his journey in shaping the legal contours of sports betting in New York.
His current efforts to spearhead the legalisation of iGaming promise to further evolve the gaming sector, marking a significant stride towards an all-encompassing, regulated gambling environment.
“We are honoured to welcome Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. as our keynote speaker,” said Pierre Lindh, MD of NEXT.io.
“His unparalleled expertise and visionary leadership are assets to our discourse on the future of online sports betting and gambling.
“Attendees can look forward to an engaging, enlightening session that underscores the event’s commitment to pioneering discussions in the industry.”
NEXT: NYC 2024 is more than an event; it’s a nexus for innovation, networking, and growth.
This year’s edition promises a dynamic line-up of speakers, interactive sessions, and unparalleled opportunities for collaboration.
Join us in shaping the next chapter of online gambling. For more information and to register, visit www.next.io/summits/newyork
Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.’s iGaming bill was dealt a blow on Tuesday when online casino was not included in Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2025 budget.
This month, Addabbo tabled fresh iGaming legislation, Senate Bill S4856, that would legalise the activity statewide under a 30.5% tax rate, in a move that was widely expected by observers.
The bill faces a murky future however, as yesterday (16 Jan) Hochul opted not to reference online casino funds or taxes in her 2025 budget.
Some have taken this as a signal that the legislation will not enjoy executive support in the 2024 legislative session.
In 2021, Andrew Cuomo’s 2022 budget worked to legalise online sports betting. However, the activity is subject to a relatively punitive 51% revenue tax, currently the highest in the Union.
Operators have indicated in the past that iGaming would work to enhance the profitability of their New York operations which have struggled under the current regulatory regime.
In a December joint op-ed penned by Sen. Addabbo Jr. and representative Gary Pretlow, the pair also argued that iGaming legalisation could help plug New York’s growing post-Covid budget deficit.
“At a time of fiscal distress for our state, we cannot continue to allow hundreds of millions of dollars to be funnelled into neighbouring states or into the pockets of disreputable companies – particularly when those funds could be used to further bolster funding for public schools or other worthy services,” they wrote.
Does the bill benefit Evolution?
There has been some speculation that industry lobbyists were involved in the drafting of Senate Bill S4856.
On X, industry lobbyist Steve Brubaker highlighted how the bill’s decision to block licences to companies that have done business in FATF Blacklist territories, as opposed to last year’s OFAC-sanctioned entities, likely benefits companies including Evolution.
“If the bill passes (not), the companies captured, if any, would have until they apply for a licence to divest that business,” he wrote.
“Seems like a very lite touch for Evolution. Has me thinking that last year’s L&W language was replaced with more favorable language by Evo or by the casino companies who use them.
“You see bills ‘legislating market share’ all the time. It is the primary reason lobbyists exist.
“While I do not see this bill passing, it will be interesting to see amendments that may be added to change the direction or focus of what is a battle for control of live dealer,” he added.
Soft2Bet is delighted to announce that it will sponsoring the NEXT.io Summit New York 2024 taking place on March 6-7 in the Big Apple.
As a leading provider of gaming and betting solutions to iGaming operators in regulated markets, Soft2Bet is continuing its positive moves into the US by partnering with a summit that brings together more than 1,200 executives and delegates from the iGaming, investment, media and technology sectors in North America.
Soft2Bet is the ideal partner to support the spirit of innovation that the event represents and as it prepares for its US launch in New Jersey. Soft2Bet’s presence at the iGaming Next Summit in neighbouring New York is a great way to strengthen ties with North American partners and develop Soft2Bet’s footprint in the region.
Martin Collins, Chief Business Development Officer at Soft2Bet, who will be presenting a keynote on the main stage at 11:45am on Day 1 of the event, commented: “With New York hitting record sports betting revenues, and potential new iGaming legislation on the horizon, it’s an exciting time for the industry in the Northeast US. As we prepare for our North American launch in New Jersey, we’re excited to build valuable partnerships at NEXT.io, showcasing our innovative casino, sportsbook and Motivational Engineering solutions to this burgeoning market.”
David Yatom Hay, General Counsel at Soft2Bet, who will also be particiapting at the summit added: “At Soft2Bet, we have firmly set our sights on the dynamic US gaming landscape. Our dual role as both a pioneering operator and a versatile supplier uniquely positions us to introduce our state-of-the-art platform and services, including our distinctive Motivational Engineering and Gaming Application (MEGA) solution. As we edge closer to our North American debut, we’re eager to leverage these innovations and forge substantial partnerships at the upcoming NEXT.io event. This is a thrilling chapter for Soft2Bet, as we bring our expertise and cutting-edge technology to the forefront of the US market.”
Pierre Lindh, managing director at NEXT.io, added: “We couldn’t be more excited to have Soft2Bet on board with us as our headline sponsor in 2024. Being one of the most respected B2B and B2C organisations in the industry, Soft2Bet’s exponential growth and regulated market approach exemplify international sustainable growth within the regulated space.We look forward to working with Martin and the team to deliver a great event and plenty of value through our NEXT: NYC Summit on 6-7th March!”
The iGaming Next Summit New York 2024 promises to be more than a conference; it’s a central hub for the iGaming revolution, offering networking events, expert discussions and insights into industry trends. This event is set to forge new paths in iGaming, focusing on connecting operators with leading suppliers and startups.
For more information and to register, visit https://next.io/summits/newyork/
NEXT.io stands at the forefront of the iGaming industry, organizing world-class events and delivering top-tier content. Known for its data-driven decision-making, NEXT.io continues to drive innovation and growth in the iGaming community.
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Despite iGaming legislation gaining traction in various US states, Morgan Stanley analysts remain sceptical about significant progress in 2024 and beyond.
Yesterday, NEXT.io zoomed in on Morgan Stanley’s 2024 gambling industry forecast, analysing mainly the US online sports betting landscape and highlighting the bank’s preferred stock selections.
Today, we shift our attention to the potential for iGaming legislation in the US and its market prospects.
For context, Morgan Stanley said its expectations for iGaming remain restrained due to the slower legislative process.
The bank revised the timeline for Maryland’s iGaming launch to Q4 2024 and pushed Indiana’s launch to 2025, which was previously anticipated in late 2024.
Furthermore, the firm now anticipates Colorado’s iGaming launch in 2026, as opposed to the initially planned 2025, and has completely excluded Iowa from its considerations.
The analysts noted that iGaming in the US has yet to realise its full potential as a lucrative profit stream and source of tax revenue.
Since the repeal of PAPSA in 2018, the legalisation of sports betting has far outpaced iCasino.
Currently, almost 80% of states have embraced sports betting, while iGaming lags behind, being adopted in fewer than 20% of states.
However, given the only material online sports betting launch this year as of now is North Carolina, the focus for incremental legalisation upside has shifted to iGaming, the analysts said.
“The main states we continue to hear coming around as distinct possibilities are Maryland, New York and Illinois,” Morgan Stanley stated.
Although Maryland is part of the bank’s forecast for iGaming’s Total Addressable Market (TAM), projected to reach $7.1bn this year, the anticipated impact of Illinois and New York surpasses Maryland significantly, and is estimated to be 1.25-2.00 times larger, the analysts stressed.
“We remain sceptical that either New York or Illinois could launch in the next several years,” the team concluded however.
In New York, the distribution of downstate casino licences, with notable opposition from some casino operators, poses a hurdle to iCasino legislation over the cannibalisation fears of land-based stakeholders.
In Illinois, opposition from Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) operators is seen as a significant barrier.
However, if both New York and Illinois were to legalise iGaming over the coming years, they would represent a substantial portion (27% for New York and 17% for Illinois) of the estimated TAM for 2024.
Assuming a conservative operator margin of approximately 25% on the additional TAM, this could translate to roughly $1bn in industry EBITDA by 2025.
This would account for approximately 30% of the combined industry’s estimated EBITDA for 2025, according to Morgan Stanley.