Resorts World Employees Oppose NY iGaming Bill

Employees of Resorts World Casino (l.) at Aqueduct raceway in New York are calling on lawmakers to reject a bill to authorize online casino gaming, citing cannibalization concerns.

Resorts World Employees Oppose NY iGaming Bill

Nearly 700 employees of Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct raceway in Queens have written a letter to New York lawmakers urging them to reject a bill to legalize online casino gaming, calling the measure a threat to their jobs.

In a signed letter, the workers criticized state Sen. Joe Addabbo, chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, who has been pushing for iGaming legislation for five years.

“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,” employees wrote in the letter sent., under the Hotel & Gaming Trades Council union’s letterhead.

Addabbo’s district includes the Resorts World facility.

The letter states that players will be less likely to visit their facility if online gaming is available. “When customers come to a racino, VLT parlor or casino, they support all of our jobs, including cooks, bartenders, servers, maintenance workers, and hotel workers,” the letter said.

“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.”

“This iGaming proposal undercuts the best thing about casino gaming in New York: permanent, high-quality jobs that New Yorkers can live and retire on,” said Bhav Tibrewal, political director of the union, according to Yogonet. “We’ve stated and re-stated our opposition to iGaming to Senator Addabbo and now it’s time for him and other legislators to start hearing it directly from casino workers,” Tibrewal said.

Addabbo has argued that online gaming would actually increase employment at brick-and-mortar casinos and referred to studies supporting this perspective, including a study by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming released last week that shows online gaming actually has boosted the revenue of brick-and-mortar casinos in the six states where both channels are legal.

Addabbo’s bill also includes an allocation of $25 million annually to protect casino jobs, and stipulates that live dealers in the iGaming setup would be union jobs.