New York State Senator To File New Online Casino Legislation

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New York State Senator To File New Online Casino Legislation
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For the second time in as many years, state Sen. Joseph Addabbo will introduce legislation to legalize New York online casino gaming. 

Addabbo told US Bets on Friday that he expects to file his new bill within the next two weeks.

Earlier in the week in a procedural move, the New York Senate refiled last year’s bill to legalize mobile casino apps as a “formality,” Addabbo said. This year’s bill will include a handful of changes, including the introduction of iLottery, protections against the cannibalization of brick-and-mortar casinos, and an additional $11 million earmarked for addiction programs.

While Addabbo said this year’s version of the legislation will be “better,” last year’s bill — which did not gain traction — offers plenty of insight into where he may be headed. According to Addabbo’s numbers from last year, legalizing iCasino in New York would generate $475 million in annual revenue for the state. He also noted that seven other states currently offer online casino, including three border states in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

Last year’s bill called for a 30.5% tax on gross gaming revenue and covered all manner of iCasino play, including slots, table games, and live dealer games. It also defined at least 19 “qualifying entities” as potential casino licensees.

In that section of the bill, Addabbo included destination resorts, video lottery parlors that offer live racing, federally recognized tribes that have an agreement with the state, and existing sports betting platforms. In addition, the bill allows for three online casino licenses that would be awarded through a bidding process. Casinos were entitled to one iGaming skin under the language of last year’s bill.

Some other notable nuggets from the 2023 bill:

  • Licenses would be valid for 10 years.
  • Tribes must be compacted with the state to be eligible for a license.
  • Interactive gaming must go live within 120 days after the effective date of the bill, and applications would be awarded on a rolling basis.
  • Casino operators would pay a $2 million one-time fee while interactive operators would pay a $10 million one-time fee. The bill did not address annual fees.

Waiting for the budget

Speaking to US Betslast year, Addabbo said mobile casino legalization is a necessity for a state struggling to make ends meet.

“We’re in trouble fiscally without federal help,” Addabbo said. “You can’t cut your way out of a multi-billion-dollar deficit, can’t raise taxes to that extent, so you need new revenue. Other states are doing it and taking our money and, let’s not kid ourselves, New Yorkers are doing this illegally as well. And if I hear my analysts in the industry correctly, we lose about a billion dollars a year. How long can we sit on the sidelines?”

Gov. Kathy Hochul did not include last year’s legislation in her 2024 state budget, effectively preventing it from moving forward. Her 2025 state budget is expected to be revealed to lawmakers at some point in February.