New York has seen massive returns since launching online sports betting in 2022. The state may also see iGaming – including online poker – legalized as well if one Empire State legislator has his way.
Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D), who helped spearhead online sports betting legislation, plans to put forward online casino and lottery legislation in the next legislative session, which kicks off in January. The state’s poker players may be happy to see that his plans call for the game to be included.
“It’s something I agree with,” Addabbo told Poker Industry Pro. “It shouldn’t just be table games, it should be other games like poker included.”
Significant Player Pool
Online poker proponents have longed to see a state with a major population go the legalization route. The state has almost 20 million people and could be a major addition to the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), which allows shared liquidity among poker operators in Nevada, Michigan, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Addabbo, who chairs the Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, said along with legalizing online poker, the legislation would allow for joining multi-state agreements such as the MSIGA. He noted that shared liquidity “is something that I’ve thought about. When I’m looking at tournaments, I’m looking at not only in-state tournaments but also state-to-state tournaments.”
The state faces significant budget shortfalls with recent forecasts projecting a $36 billion gap over the next three years. That’s $15 billion higher than state officials originally estimated and includes $9.1 billion alone for 2024. Online gaming and lottery could help ease some of that burden, according to Addabbo.
“What we’re seeing is that mobile sports betting in New York is being perceived as the number one product in the country,” Addabbo told Poker Industry Pro. “We should build upon that. The timing for iGaming is perfect in the sense that we’re showing that New Yorkers have the propensity and the desire to game with a device, as well as going through a brick-and-mortar site.
Changing U.S. Online Poker Landscape
Just because legislation is proposed doesn’t mean a bill will necessarily pass. Legislators have disagreed on online gaming issues in the past, but the success of sports betting and the financial crisis may coax state officials to reach an agreement.
Currently, only two online poker operators offer shared liquidity. PokerStars has a shared platform for players in Michigan and New Jersey. WSOP.com shares liquidity in Nevada and New Jersey, which formerly also included 888poker in Delaware until that state changed its iGaming operator.
Adding New York no doubt would be a major goal for operators in a shared liquidity environment and could give significant boosts to player and prize pools.