Published: June 28, 2024

New York iGaming Legalization Unlikely After Hochul Says Existing Budget Remains

Legalizing iGaming in New York seems less likely now that the governor released a statement saying she’ll find a way to make the existing budget work.

On June 26, Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul announced that her administration would coordinate with Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leaders to fund public transportation.

New York online casino advocates had been hoping the New York State Legislature would meet in a special session to address MTA funding. They believed the $1 billion in revenue expected to result from enacting SB8185 would replace the $1 billion that Hochul lost by pausing the congestion pricing program on June 5. The program’s revenue was slated to fund the MTA.

Instead, Hochul announced plans for MTA cost-cutting and delayed projects.

It may mean there won’t be a special legislative session.

On June 25, state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. told Bonus he thought it would be unlikely” that the iGaming and iLottery bill he sponsored would pass in 2024 now that the legislature’s adjourned.

Meanwhile, the Woodhaven Democrat was hoping to see deadlines specified in SB9673 “codified” to accelerate the downstate retail casino licensee selection process. Lawmakers approved the bill on June 7, but Hochul hasn’t signed it. The measure outlined March 2026 as the latest possible due date for would-be casino license bidders to be chosen. Addabbo estimated that by then, the state would see $2.75 billion to $3 billion in application and license fees. Those dollars head to the MTA.

The regulator’s siting board, which is overseeing the licensee selection process, is meeting on June 27 in Harlem.

Hochul’s MTA Funding Plans

Instead of a special legislative session to find new revenue to fund the MTA, Hochul announced:

While the timing of the next budget may necessitate temporary adjustments to the timeline of certain contracts, there is no reason for New Yorkers to be concerned that any planned projects will not be delivered.

In the interim, the MTA has committed to direct all available resources to ensure the system remains in a state of good repair and continue to advance priority projects, and prepare to activate new contracts immediately following the designation of new revenue sources in next year’s budget.

I also believe that there are additional opportunities for savings and improved revenues within existing MTA operations. Last year, at my direction, my administration and the MTA’s leadership team successfully identified operating efficiencies to the tune of more than $400 million, and I am confident in our ability to take those efforts even further.

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