Attempts to push through iGaming legalization in New York have proven unsuccessful over the past few years. Undeterred, Senator Joseph Addabbo, who chairs the New York State Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, has reintroduced Senate Bill 856 (SB 856) in the latest attempt to push through legislation.
It is the same bill as last year and would allow for the launch of online casinos while also permitting the purchase of lottery tickets online.
would allow sportsbook operators to seek an iGaming license
SB 856 would allow sportsbook operators to seek an iGaming license, as well as tribal and commercial casinos. It proposes a 30.5% tax rate on operators, which compares favorably to the 51% rate that is in place for online sportsbooks in New York. Licensees would also have to pay a one-time license fee of $2m.
Any revenue that iGaming generates would go towards the state’s Lottery Fund, which mainly finances public education programs in the region. New York’s finances have been under pressure recently, with the 2024 budget deficit hitting $4.3bn and some analysts predicting that it could almost double to $8bn in 2025.
Senator Addabbo believes that iGaming could make a dent in the deficit, especially as hundreds of millions of dollars are currently leaving the state through offshore platforms. He estimates that the legal sector could generate as much as $1bn for the state each year and wouldn’t negatively impact lottery retailers or land-based casinos.
A small club
Only six US states have legal iGaming platforms up and running so far, with Rhode Island set to become the seventh in April. Lawmakers in various jurisdictions across the country are set to seriously consider the matter this year. Online casinos have much healthier profit margins than sportsbooks, which would in turn lead to more tax revenue.
potential for problem gambling rates to skyrocket
One reason why the adoption of online casinos has been much slower than sports betting is down to the perceived social costs of allowing people to play slots and table games remotely. Some lawmakers cite the potential for problem gambling rates to skyrocket and a negative knock-on impact for land-based casinos as reasons to oppose expansion.
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