If interactive gaming isn’t approved this year in New York, it will be legalized at some point in the future, a key state senator says.

New York iGaming would allow people to use smartphones or computers in betting on casino-style table games and slot machines.

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Bettors in New York already can use mobile devices to place legal sports wagers.

Interactive gaming is next, said Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., D-Queens.

“It’s not a matter of if, but when,” Addabbo told Gambling.com on Friday.

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New York Mobile Sports Betting Tops $3.9 Billion

Addabbo has introduced Senate Bill 8412 to legalize iGaming statewide. He anticipates iGaming could generate more revenue than sports betting.

From the Jan. 8 launch through March 13, New York sports betting took in more than $3.9 billion in wagers. Those bets have generated over $140 million in tax revenue, according to New York State Gaming Commission figures released Friday.

In the week of March 7-13, eight of the nine online sportsbooks authorized to operate in New York accepted $406.4 million in bets. The ninth bookmaker, BallyBet, expects to be operational next in New York.

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Since the Jan. 8 mobile launch, FanDuel has taken in the most sports bets, at $1.38 billion. Caesars Sportsbook has accepted $1.07 billion in wagers. DraftKings is closing in on the billion-dollar club in New York, having taken in $952.5 million in bets.

iGaming More Popular Than Sports Betting in Connecticut

In neighboring Connecticut, the amount of money wagered on iGaming far outpaces the amount bet on sports.

In February, Connecticut’s iGaming handle topped $743.8 million. The “handle” is the amount of money wagered.

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By comparison, the February sports betting handle in Connecticut was $115.6 million. Most of that, or $108.7 million, came from mobile sports betting.

By mid-March, about 500 iCasino games had been approved in Connecticut, including craps, blackjack, slots and poker, said Kaitlyn Krasselt, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection communications director.

Live dealer facilities and operations are “still in the process of being organized and licensed,” she told Gambling.com.

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Laying New York’s iGaming Groundwork

Addabbo’s iGaming bill has been sent to the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee for consideration. Addabbo is the committee chairman.

A hearing date has not been set for the bill. The legislative session ends June 2 in Albany.

Addabbo told Gambling.com he expects iGaming to be legalized, if not this year, then down the road.

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He noted that mobile sports betting took more than two years of discussions and negations before being approved.

The effort to legalize iGaming includes conversations about the bill’s advantages, such as the millions of dollars set aside to combat gambling addiction, Addabbo said.

“We’re laying the groundwork,” he said.

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