The money would eclipse mobile sports betting. Four weeks after a bill was introduced in the New York State Assembly to legalize online poker in the Empire State, a separate bill to legalize real money online casino gaming has been submitted in the state Senate.
Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), a longtime champion of iGaming in the state legislature, introduced S4856 last week. The bill would allow qualified licensees to have one skin for online casino gaming in New York.
The legislation defines qualified licensees to include racinos in the state, four commercial casinos, and three downstate casinos currently in the planning stages. Also eligible for an online casino license are Class III (aka Vegas-style) tribal casinos in the state, of which the website 500 Nations lists eight.
The nine online sportsbooks awarded mobile sports betting licenses by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) in November 2021 are eligible as well. Eight of those have online casino platforms in other states — except for Resorts World Bet).
NYSGC will hold a competitive bidding process for three additional licenses, with participants required to be at least 5% minority-owned. Altogether, the regulator could issue up to 35 online casino licenses.
Online casino brands likely to launch in New York include Bally Bet Casino NY, BetMGM Casino NY, BetRivers Casino NY, Caesars Casino NY, DraftKings Casino NY, FanDuel Casino NY, PointsBet Casino NY, and WynnBET Casino NY.
Legalization Needed to Help Problem Gamblers
During a wide-ranging interview on WCBS-TV in New York, Addabbo said he would propose iGaming as a new revenue source for the beleaguered Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). He estimates that the state is losing out on tax revenue from about one billion dollars in annual online casino gaming revenue to neighboring states and illegal offshore sites.
Once you regulate [online casino gaming] in New York, now you can see somebody actually on their way to having an addiction and get to them before they become addicted. “The money would eclipse mobile sports betting,” Addabbo told Marcia Kramer, host of The Point with Marcia Kramer on CBS News New York, during an interview on February 12. “We’re losing [iGaming] money right now to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and the illegal market here.
“The problem is, even if you want to help someone with an addiction, we can’t because we don’t know who they are. Forget the revenue that we lose — they’re not on our radar. [But] once you regulate it in New York, now you can see somebody actually on their way to having an addiction and get to them before they become addicted.”
Online casinos would be taxed 30.5% under S4856, compared to 51% for sports betting.
S4856 was introduced on February 15 and immediately referred to the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, which Addabbo chairs. He presented a similar bill last year, but it failed to pass — it also proposed each licensee be allowed two iGaming skins rather than just one.
Live Dealer Studios Must Be In NY
The online casino bill makes several other provisions as well:
- It would levy a one-time license fee of $2 million, but independent contractors that “provide an operator’s mobile interactive gaming waging platform and [displays] its brand” would have to pay $10 million.
- Licenses would expire after 10 years. NYSGC has not finalized a process for license renewals, so S4856 directs the regulator to do so.
- The bill would authorize live dealer games for several classic table games, including blackjack, craps, keno, poker, and roulette. It also stipulates that the live dealer studios “must be located within the State of New York” but adds that a live dealer studio isn’t required to be located within the premises of a gaming facility.
- NYSGC would be required to issue a request for applications no later than July 1, 2023. The bill sets the deadline for applying within 30 days of the date that the regulator requested the applications.
Addabbo’s bill would amend the state’s Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and Breeding Law by adding Article 15 for interactive gaming.
Last month, Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) introduced a separate bill to legalize online poker in New York. Pretlow’s bill proposed taxing online poker at 15%.