New York Governor Introduces $233 Billion Budget to Exclude Online Casino Proposals
In an unexpected move, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has released a $233 billion Executive Budget that excludes proposals to legalize online casinos in the Empire State. This decision comes after a bill was filed in the New York Senate with an aim to boost the state’s online gambling market, which is currently the largest in the US.
Governor Hochul made it clear that the budget prioritizes fiscal discipline while still pursuing progressive, people-driven policies. She stated, “I am committed to fight the right fights on behalf of New Yorkers, and to pursue the common good with common sense – by seeking common ground.”
The exclusion of online casinos in the budget has left the fate of a bill proposed by Sen. Joe Addabbo uncertain. The bill, known as S8185, aims to add online casino gaming and lottery to the state’s online gambling portfolio. However, it will now be waiting for the final budget agreement, which is due by March 31, 2024.
If approved, the $233 billion budget would be the largest in the state’s history, exceeding last year’s $229 billion funding plan. The budget focuses on areas such as crime reduction, mental health improvement, safety programs for children, and overall living standard improvement. Gov. Hochul emphasized that the budget will accomplish a solid, balanced fiscal plan without placing an added burden on taxpayers.
Budget Director Blake Washington stated that the budget prioritizes key areas such as school aid, Medicaid, and migrants. He emphasized the need for responsible long-term budgeting without raising taxes or resorting to gimmicks.
The release of the budget comes less than a week after Sen. Addabbo filed bill S8185. This bill aims to legalize online casinos and expand the state’s online offerings beyond sports betting. However, industry representatives estimate that the chances of the legislation being passed stand at less than 50% due to ongoing issues with licensing for downstate casinos.
Despite the exclusion of online casinos, the budget did include provisions for horse racing, extending parimutuel tax rates and simulcast provisions for one year. Additionally, the budget proposes that the Capital Off-Track Betting Corporation use up to $1 million of its capital acquisition fund for another year.
Overall, the release of the $233 billion Executive Budget has sparked discussions and debates as stakeholders await the final budget agreement and its implications for the future of online gambling in New York.