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New York’s iGaming chances may have taken a big hit for 2024, but one Senator is still hopeful a deal can be reached this year.
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) did not include any provisions for iGaming legalization or revenues in her proposed New York FY 2025 budget, potentially putting an end to the best hope iGaming had for passage this year.
Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo (D-15) recently introduced an iGaming bill that would have allowed state casinos, tribes, and online sports betting operators to be licensed. He stressed the importance of Hochul including an iGaming mention in her budget for a realistic chance of it moving through to passage this year.
Addabbo said he remains hopeful that a solution for legalization can still be found.
“The governor did a fine job laying out the game plan about where she wants the state to go and what she wants the state to do. But, in that press conference and the executive budget, there’s no how to get these things accomplished or how to move forward. That’s what the budget negotiations are for over January, February, and March. That’s where I’m hopeful we can have a conversation about iGaming,” Addabbo Jr. told HMP.
So What Now for New York iGaming?
Hochul’s proposed FY 2025 budget included very few gaming aspects and did not mention iGaming.
Addabbo said he will move forward with his bill during budget negotiations over the next three months. For the bill to have any chance, Addabbo said the governor will have to take the initiative during the negotiations and show an interest in iGaming.
“I’m going to remain optimistic. I’m hopeful that the Hochul administration can piece together these puzzle pieces. The legislature, her administration, the union, the advocates, the brick and mortar casinos, the tribal leaders; it’s all going to take a collective effort here for what is really going to be the final iGaming and iLottery product,” he said.
In her budget press conference, Gov. Hochul did a fine job of laying out where she wants the state to go and what she wants the state to do, Addabbo said. What she did not go into great detail about, he said, is “how” the state will get there.
“It may not be that we want to try iGaming in New York, but that we need iGaming. There’s a budget deficit this year, according to the state comptroller, but an even bigger deficit in the outyears, 2025, 2026, so we need to take the blinders off and not just plan short term this year. We need to plan for sustainability moving forward, and that could be iGaming and iLottery,” he told us.
iGaming Bill Details
Addabbo’s bill, S8185, would have allowed 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.
The bill estimated 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 wpi;d earmark $11 million annually for problem gambling education and treatment purposes and at least
Licenses 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 would 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 would 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.
Other Gaming Bills to Be Introduced
This year, iGaming will not be the only gaming issue touched upon in New York. Addabbo said he will soon be introducing a bill that will expand sports betting markets in the state.
He noted that his legislation will lift a prohibition on New York online sports betting that disallows bets to be placed on award props, such as the MVP or Rookie of the Year, and bets on league drafts.
“We want to allow a New Yorker to bet on who is going to be rookie of the year, or MVP, those type of bets. I would like to talk about that, and also talk about how to better incorporate horse racing into the online sports betting landscape,” he said.