New York Considers Online Casino Legalization in 2023

The Empire State has tabled legislation to potentially legalize online casinos in 2023.

New York’s sports betting market has firmly planted itself as the top market in the entire country, and if one state politician gets his wish the Empire State will look to strengthen its grip around online gaming.

Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., one of the main proponents of New York’s online sports betting legalization in 2021, recently introduced bill S4856, a piece of legislation seeking to legalize online casino gaming, including slots, table games, and live dealer games.

New York iGaming Bill Details

The bill includes a 30.5% iGaming tax rate. Most states average between 15% to 18% for their iGaming tax rates, but New York does not shy away from aggressive tax rates. It’s online sports betting tax rate currently sits at 51%, the highest rate in the country.

If approved, the bill would allow all nine online sports betting operators to acquire an iGaming license. In addition to the nine licenses for online sports betting operators, the bill allows New York casinos, racinos, and tribes to hold an iGaming license.

Each license is valid for 10 years and requires a $2 million license fee to hold.

Three additional licenses will also be available through a competitive bidding process. The process will closely mirror the sports betting license procedure, which saw interested operators submit bid packages to the New York State Gaming Commission that included revenue estimates and a tax rate the operator would be willing to pay.

Operators who knowingly participate in unregulated or offshore markets will be ineligible for a New York iGaming license. Additionally, if any licensed operator is found to be participating or accepting revenue from unregulated or offshore iGaming markets, the New York State Gaming Commission reserves the right to revoke their awarded license.

Similar to sports betting, the New York State Gaming Commission will regulate iGaming and award licenses.

Legalized iGaming could bring upwards of $1 billion annually in tax revenue for the Empire State, according to Addabbo, but interest in the bill may not be there for this fiscal year. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) did not include an iGaming element in her recent executive budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2024.

One way to make iGaming more palatable to the Governor? Addabbo has suggested that iGaming tax revenue be used to help fund the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

In her budget proposal, Hochul suggested using downstate casino license fees and tax revenue, already earmarked for education, to fund the MTA beginning 2026. Addabbo Jr. said iGaming revenue could be used to fund the MTA much sooner than 2026.

Robert Linnehan

Robert Linnehan

Covering regulatory developments in online gambling. Editing/writing/creating a newsletter for readers across all formats.