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NY Online Casino Bill Faces Daunting Path Forward
What will 2024 hold for the future of New York betting apps?
New York Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Queens) has introduced a new bill to legalize online casinos in the Empire State. Bill S8185 would allow New York casinos and online sportsbooks to apply for iGaming licenses. The legislation is similar to S4856, which was introduced in 2022, with a few changes, such as which applicants would be eligible for the three additional licenses that will be up for bid.
Last year’s bill suffered a setback that kept it from being included in the state’s budget. Addabbo spoke about the benefits of regulated online casinos in 2022, saying that New York gamblers are possibly traveling to neighboring states, so lawmakers should keep the money here by attempting to regulate iGaming and keep players safe.
Latest Challenge to NY Online Casino Bill
Anticipation in New York for legalizing iGaming in 2024 suffered a setback when Gov. Kathy Hochul released the Executive Budget on January 16. Unfortunately, online casino gaming wasn’t included in the $233 billion allotment. Instead, the budget concentrates on reducing crime, revamping the mental health system, maintaining children’s safety online and at school and making the state more affordable.
Senator Addabbo and backers of the bill will have until March 31 to convince state lawmakers to support iGaming, which is the deadline for the Governor and state legislators to pass the final budget.
NY Online Casino Bill Details
Besides allowing all New York retail casinos and online sportsbooks to apply for iGaming licenses, SB8185 will set aside $11 million in tax revenue to fund problem gambling programs. There will be 31 eligible skins available, with each licensee limited to one skin. A one-time licensing fee of $2 million will be required for a ten-year term, which goes up to $10 million for independent contractors.
Online casino operators in New York will be subject to a 30.5% tax on gaming revenue under the bill, which will help create a fund of at least $25 million for union workers in the hotel and gaming industry.
Legal iGaming is expected to generate $1 billion in annual tax revenue for the state, which is one reason Addabbo is pushing the bill forward in 2024.
The Path Forward for iGaming in New York
Online casinos have yet to be legalized in New York, but interest in iGaming has been slowly gaining support. It promises to reap substantial economic benefits and help the state overcome its budget deficit, which will balloon to $9 billion in 2024.
The best chance for the state to pass iGaming legislation is to have it included in the state budget, which is what Addabbo was hoping for last year when lawmakers excluded it when the 2024 budget was approved last May.
SB8185 will possibly face resistance from the Secca and Oneida tribes, who operate retail casinos upstate and are currently in negotiations for gaming compacts. The selection of downstate casino licenses is also underway, with providers like MGM in support of iGaming.
If lawmakers have concerns about the tribal compact or downstate licenses, the push to legalize iGaming may have to wait until 2025. However, as one of the biggest advocates for online casinos in New York and throughout the US, Sen. Addabbo will use his position as the chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming & Wagering Committee to get any future bills forwarded to the Senate.
In the meantime New Yorkers can grab their share of NY sportsbook promos at legal online betting apps across the state.