New York Labor Union Slams iGaming Bill Over Fears of Casino Jobs Cannibalization

  • Almost 700 workers from Resorts World in Queens are against the iGaming bill
  • Sen. Abbaddo stated iGaming will, conversely, increase jobs at NY retail casinos
  • Resorts World casino is one of the two favorites to win a downstate casino license
Resorts World New York
Casino workers at Resorts World in Queens (pictured) are against an iGaming bill over fears it will negatively affect their livelihoods. [Image:]

Casino workers react

The New York Hotel & Gaming Trades Council (NYHTC) has slammed a recently reintroduced iGaming bill over fears it will cannibalize the livelihood of its member casino workers.

The move is backed by 700 workers from the Genting-owned Resorts World New York City in Queens. The staffers added their signatures to an NYHTC letter opposing state Senator Joe Addabbo’s Senate Bill 856.  

hurt workers like us and our industry in order to benefit a handful of companies”

The letter stated union members found it “appalling” Addabbo was pushing the iGaming bill. If passed, the letter stated, SB 856 would “hurt workers like us and our industry in order to benefit a handful of companies who are seeking massive profits at our expense.”

Digital gaming operators that include FanDuel and DraftKings have injected $77,100 into Addabbo’s iGaming campaign.

Fears explained

The New York Post cited NYHTC’s Political Director Bhav Tibrewal as stating it was time to rally against the bill Addabbo’s been trying to push through state legislature since 2019. Tibrewal said that his union repeatedly told the senator of its opposition to SB 856, but “now it’s time for him and other legislators to start hearing it directly from casino workers.”

The NYHTC exec stated the bill would jeopardize the “permanent, high-quality jobs that New Yorkers can live and retire on.”

The union’s letter expressed the stance of the Resorts World workers who signed off on it, stating retail customers: “support all of our jobs, including cooks, bartenders, servers, maintenance workers, and hotel workers.”

The letter stated the online gaming bill would cannibalize the livelihoods of thousands if these current customers “were to game from their homes, workplaces, or elsewhere” should it pass.

Why would I cannibalize jobs?”

Addabbo thinks the opposite is true and stated: “My constituents work there. Why would I cannibalize jobs?” The senator cited studies proving iGaming will, conversely, increase jobs at brick and mortar casinos. He also told the media that SB 856 incorporates a $25m annual fund to protect casino jobs, while the NYHTC will represent online dealers.

A question of time

On Sunday, Addabbo stated a legal online gaming market would generate $800m to $1bn billion a year in revenue for New York. He added that legalization in the state was a question of “when” and not “if,” pointing to live markets in neighboring states New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

New York State will award three downstate casino licenses later this year, or as recently reported, in 2025 because of lawmakers not including the casino license fees in the state budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal period.

Despite their fears over the iGaming bill, however, Resorts World workers can at least be optimistic the state grant their casino one of the licenses. According to industry experts, because Resorts World and Yonkers’ Empire City Casino already have operational slots parlors in downstate New York, they are favorites for the first two licenses.

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