After pulling a bill off the table last week, Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. (D-15) has introduced a New York iGaming bill to provide licenses for a number of Empire State gaming operations.
The bill’s chances will largely depend on its inclusion in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) FY 2025 budget, which will be introduced in the next few months.
The bill includes a 30.5% iGaming tax rate. Most states average between 15% to 18% for their iGaming tax rates.
iGaming Bill Details
Addabbo’s bill, S8185, will allow New York casinos, tribal casinos (with a state approved gaming compact), video lottery terminals with a racetrack, and licensed online sports betting operators and platform operators to be eligible for iGaming licenses. Each licensee can have one iGaming skin.
Three additional iGaming licenses will be available for interested entities and would be awarded through a competitive public bidding process.
Addabbo noted in the bill that New Jersey and Pennsylvania combined to exceed $3.5 billion in revenue for 2023, approximating $1 billion in tax revenue for those states.
“In its first year New York quickly became the leading mobile sports betting market in the nation. Similarly, if authorized, New York would quickly become the national leader in online casino gaming, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue annually for the State,” he wrote.
The bill estimates that New York could receive approximately $1 billion annually in tax revenue. The Empire State would also receive approximately $150 million in onetime license fees from casinos, operators, and independent contractors seeking to conduct iGaming.
Additionally, the legislation will earmark $11 million annually for problem gambling education and treatment purposes.
Licenses will carry a price tag of $2 million for an operator or casino authorized to conduct iGaming in the state. Independent contractors approved for an iGaming license will have to pay a one-time fee of $10 million.
The bill includes a 30.5% iGaming tax rate of base taxable gross gaming revenue. Operators will be allowed to deduct promotional spending for the first 12 months after iGaming is legalized, but the deductions cannot exceed 1.75% of the operator’s total monthly handle.
The bill will also allow for live dealer games. The legislation requires a live gaming studio be located within the state of New York, but does not require it to be located within the premises of a gaming facility.
Legalization Largely Depends on Gov. Hochul
Much like last year, the bill’s chances will largely depend on Gov. Hochul including the iGaming possibilities or iGaming revenues in her FY 2025 budget. If the governor does not include any of those in her proposed budget, it likely stands little chance of moving forward.
Addabbo introduced a similar bill last year. S4856 was introduced in February 2023, but found little support in the state. The final death knell for the legislation came when Hochul did not include any iGaming revenue or iGaming possibilities in her budget.
Speaking in late 2023, Addabbo Jr. stressed how important it is for Hochul to include just a few iGaming details in her budget proposal for the bill to move forward.
“We know we need revenue in New York. Here we are, we’re on the cusp of an iGaming and iLottery bill, and all I need is the Governor in her budget to merely say seven words or so. ‘We’ll look and explore the possibilities of iGaming and iLottery.’ No other details,” Addabbo Jr. previously said.