New York Lawmakers Will Once Again Consider Online Casinos
While New York tries to determine who will get downstate brick and mortar casino licenses, Sen. Joseph Addabbo will once again stump for online casinos in the state. Moreover, the bill will also seek to bring the online lottery to the Empire State as well.
His latest bill, S8185, is similar to the 2023 version he put forward but there are a couple of tweaks, including which applicants are eligible for some of the at-large licenses.
Like his previous bill, S4856, the bill would open up online casino licenses to the following groups:
- The four downstate casinos and three forthcoming upstate casinos
- VLT parlors like MGM Empire City Casino and Resorts World NYC
- New York tribes
- Online sports betting operators
There will also be three additional licenses up for competitive bid, which is where some of the language has changed from the 2022 version of this bill. In the older version, these licenses would be earmarked for companies with at least 5% minority ownership.
In the 2023 version, eligible applicants do not need that threshold of minority ownership but do need to have a focus on DEI. Per the bill, eligible applicants must:
“abide by an affirmative action program of equal opportunity, approved by the commission, whereby the applicant establishes specific goals for the utilization of minorities, women and veterans in full-time, permanent jobs at such interactive gaming license’s place of operation.”
Other details remain the same from last year. Operators will pay a 30.5% tax on operations. Applicants will pay an up front $2 million fee for a license, while outside platform operators using an in-state entity’s license to promote their own brand will pay a $10 million fee.
There is also new language around responsible gambling that designates 0.025% of tax revenue generated each fiscal yeart to go towards funding employee training and responsible gaming trading. This amount must equate to at least $25 million a year.
Other responsible gambling measures, such as a requirement to notify patrons once they have deposited a combined $2,500 on an app, remain in this version of the bill.
Like sports betting servers, online casino servers will need to be located on property at a casino. However, there is flexibility about the location of live dealer studios, so long as they are within state lines and the licensees are entered into a union labor agreement.
Given the attention around land-based casino expansion in the state this year, there may not be much bandwidth in Albany to consider online expansion as well. Nonetheless, the Sports Betting Alliance is doing its best to support efforts vi a new campaign it launched this week around the economic benefits online casinos could bring.