2017 may mark the year that New York State legalizes online gambling. A few weeks ago, the first traditional casino opened in Tioga Downs in Upstate New York, marking the end of the New York-based tribes’ monopoly. The expansion of traditional casino operations in New York may just be the boost that online gambling needs in order to get approved this year.
About the Expansion
The monopoly of the tribes was broken in 2013, when New York voters voted in favor of the construction of up to four full-fledged casinos in a specific location in New York State. The next year, a newly-formed Gaming Facility Location Board recommended three facilities for such licensing, and a fourth (Tioga Downs) was recommended in 2015.
While Tioga Downs was the last casino to be approved, it was the first to open. And the other three casinos - Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo, and Montreign Resort Casino in Adelaar - are all slated for openings in February and March 2017.
Why the Expansion?
Supporters predict that one of the outcomes from casino expansion will be additional tax revenue for the state of New York. (New Jersey recently expanded their gambling offerings as well, and lawmakers are expecting the same outcome of additional revenue.) Opening more casinos in New York is also expected to boost employment and improve tourism rates.
The Effect of Casino Expansion on Online Gambling
Online gambling supporters are hoping that the expansion of traditional casinos will prove successful and that it will cause New York legislators to recognize the potential benefits of online gambling. 2016 saw a number of bills regarding daily fantasy sports (DFS) and online gambling pushed forward, but while DFS was eventually legalized in the Empire State, online gambling was left by the wayside. Perhaps that will change in 2017.