New York City May Soon Usurp Atlantic City As a US Gambling Destination – Addabbo

Household name US gambling destination cities are Atlantic City and Las Vegas, in alphabetical order. However, New York City may soon replace New Jersey’s resort city on that short list, New York Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. told NJGamblingSites today.

Addabbo, D-Ozone Park, said to NJGamblingSites:

It’s conceivable that this happens.

The possible change wouldn’t be immediate. Addabbo was envisioning what may occur once three expected retail casinos are built and operating, which will likely take years to realize.

So “soon” is relative.

Meanwhile, for New Jerseyans unfamiliar with Addabbo, he’s the most prominent gambling expansion and problem gambling prevention advocate in the New York State Legislature.

Addabbo’s Reasoning

New York City is already a global destination, Addabbo reminded NJGamblingSites today. Once it adds three retail casinos with full licenses, it’s not a reach to believe it can overtake Atlantic City for the US gambling destination distinction.

Addabbo points out to NJGamblingSites today that New York City already has other advantages that may help New York City usurp Atlantic City as a US gambling destination:

  • New York State has twice the population of New Jersey
  • New York City is already a tourism destination, and adding retail casinos would provide another reason to visit
  • New York City is literally a “gateway” to the United States

In one realm, New York overtook New Jersey this year. New York online sportsbook revenue outpaces gross gaming revenue (GGR) in all other US online sports betting jurisdictions, Addabbo emphasizes.

Even though the New York marketplace launched on Jan. 8 with nine sportsbooks, it’s already generating more revenue than the mature mobile New Jersey sports betting market, which has about three times the sites.

Once the three Downstate New York retail casinos go live, they’ll probably partner with more online sportsbooks. (Pending legislator and regulator approval.)

The state’s four existing retail casinos with full licenses are located in Upstate New York – not in New York City. Those casinos partner with New York’s nine existing online sportsbooks.

However, beginning on Jan. 6, the New York Gaming Facility Location Board (NYGFLB) is opening the application period for the Downstate New York retail casino license hopefuls. This is the board the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) appointed in October to oversee the siting process.

Even though several would-be licensees already presented many of their proposals to the public, the board hasn’t yet decided on the winners.

That choice will likely happen months after the Jan. 6 beginning of the process that Addabbo believes will run with the “professionalism” and “efficiency” the commission displayed during the mobile sports betting procedures.

US Gambling Destination – Atlantic City

Meanwhile, Atlantic City’s nine retail casinos are already open and taking bets.

The beachfront casinos are more popular during the summer months, but the US gambling destination does see traffic year-round.

For instance, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa expects a deluge of poker players on Monday:

Borgata and BetMGM present “The Return: A Borgata Championship Event.”

The Return ends on Jan. 8 and guarantees more than $4 million in prizes. However, attendees seem more excited that it’s what they consider the largest East Coast poker tournament to happen in person since the Covid-19 shutdowns began in March 2020.

On Dec. 26, @IricKlapper tweeted:

I live a couple hours from AC … might play the “Return.” Awesome to see Borgata back doing tourneys!

In New Jersey, the nine retail casinos partner with statewide online gambling operators, including this one with BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker.

So even with Covid-related shutdowns, New Jersey online casino, poker, and sportsbook sites continued to accept bets.

Plus, starting on Jan. 1, New Jersey PokerStars players will be able to compete with Michiganders, possibly increasing interest among Garden Staters in the game.

Adding it up, Atlantic City is a formidable US gambling destination.

During the first 11 months of 2022, the retail casinos, racetracks, and their partners generated 9.8% more revenue ($4.8 billion) than they did during the same time period in 2021 ($4.3 billion), according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

For an apples-to-apples comparison of Atlantic City retail casinos with current New York State ones, using the State of Play graphic from the nonprofit representing the gambling industry may be best. The American Gaming Association (AGA) graphic shows Atlantic City casinos generated $4.7 billion in GGR during 2021.

Possible US Gambling Destination – New York City

By contrast, the AGA map shows New York’s 31 casinos brought in $3.6 billion. The graphic doesn’t say “2021,” because the numbers from the state’s 12 commercial casinos were reported in 2021. However, New York’s 19 tribal casinos tallied $925.8 million in revenue in 2016.

However, New York City and full casino licenses may be a different story.

At the moment, the city’s gambling facilities aren’t as large, and they’re located outside of Manhattan.

However, the picture already seems to be changing.

Yesterday, Newsday reported that New York Gov. Kathy C. Hochul signed a bill into law a measure that allows a “regional off-track betting corporation to host video lottery” terminals (VLTs).

Jake’s 58 casino in Islandia – Long Island, not New York City – can double its number of VLTs.

The action may show Hochul is demonstrating her support for New York gambling expansion. During her reelection campaign, she voiced support for continuing the Downstate New York retail casino licensing process.

Addabbo told NJGamblingSites today:

I’m excited.

For perspective, though, Las Vegas will likely remain king. AGA shows Nevada’s 217 casinos generated $13.4 billion in GGR in 2021.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at NJ Gambling Sites, concentrating on online casino coverage. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University, as well as a master's degree in journalism from New York University, and has now shifted to NJ Gambling Sites to lend her expertise.