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New York Casino Workers Express Concerns With Online Gaming Plans

Opposition Contrasts With Recent ‘Cannibalization’ Study


After a successful launch of online sports betting in 2002, legislators in New York are now considering legalizing other forms of online gaming including poker.

Sen. Joe Addabbo (D) has worked toward legalization since 2019 and recently introduced another bill as the state faces some major budget shortfalls. Those plans have now been met with some pushback after a union representing casino workers recently announced its opposition.

“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 New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council union recently noted in a statement.

Worries of Lost Revenue, Jobs

The letter specifically represented employees at Resorts World Casino and was geared toward Addabbo and supporters. Resorts is located next to the senator’s district and some of the casino’s employees live within that district.

The union urged legislators not to approve the plan and said that players heading online to gamble may not visit a brick-and-mortar casino. This could lead to lower gaming revenues for casinos, the statement notes, and potentially lead to job losses.

“When customers come to a racino, VLT (video lottery terminal) parlor, or casino, they support all of our jobs, including cooks, bartenders, servers, maintenance workers, and hotel workers,” the union says. “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.”

Workers in Maryland have also made similar criticisms with leaders of the Unite Here union criticizing legalization efforts in a letter to the Baltimore Sun.

“In 2008, Maryland voters approved legalizing casino gaming for the promise of good jobs and economic development,” the union wrote. “Online gaming will endanger these economic development opportunities at casinos throughout the state, slashing future job creation.”

Concerns May Not Be Warranted

The union concerns come just as iDEA Growth (iDevelopment and Economic Association), the leading U.S. online gaming trade group, released a study reporting that online gaming actually helps casino revenue.

The study found an average quarterly revenue boost of more than 2.4% after the introduction of iGaming across the six legalized U.S. states.

“The study is an important part of dispelling myths about iGaming, but it’s not a silver bullet on its own,” iDEA founder and general counsel Jeff Ifrah recently told Card Player. “We look forward to continuing to organize the industry to advocate for sensible policies. With the collective support of gaming stakeholders we can make a lot of progress over the next few years.”