The 2024 online New York casino bill features the same tax rate as the one which failed to gain any traction in last year’s session.
It was introduced on Thursday, with a long road in front of it.
NY online casino bill faces challenges
The NY online casino bill faces what appears to be a difficult road, given that Gov. Kathy Hochul and others in the state’s executive leadership are already dealing with the arduous downstate casino licensing process.
Still, there is hope for a push from the sponsor.
“This is a starting point,” Addabbo told LSR. “This is what I hope the Governor’s people look at and say this is doable. … I want people to start a conversation. I will not be the only one, I cannot be the only one, talking about this.”
New York casino revenue would help
Advocates of the legislation believe it will help a state that is facing a $4.3 billion budget gap for next year. They believe New York is losing online casino revenue to other states, as well as the illegal market.
“New York is leaving billions on the table by letting the illegal online gaming market run rampant. Illegal iGaming is drawing customers away from casinos and hurting their employees and communities,” Light & Wonder global head of gaming affairs Howard Glaser told LSR.
“A regulated market will drive out the illegal operators and protect New York’s legal casino market. And the resulting state revenue will help fund New York’s critical needs without resorting to tax increases or cutting essential services. We hope the Legislature takes a serious look.”
Key difference in NY online casino bill
One key difference between the NY iGaming legislation in 2023 and this bill is the creation of a fund of at least $25 million for union workers.
Addabbo met with the Hotel & Gaming Trades Council (NYHTC) recently as he was putting the bill together. The HTC opposed legislation last session.
The bill language states:
“In each fiscal year in which interactive gaming licensees accept interactive gaming wagers, the commission shall pay, on a quarterly basis, one-quarter of one-tenth of one percent of that tax imposed on interactive gaming by this section to a fund established for the purpose of employee training, responsible gaming training and education, health, and development; provided however, that the amount budged for such a program shall be no less than twenty-five million dollars for each fiscal year.
“An individual must be an employee of a licensed commercial gaming facility represented by a labor organization having a valid project labor agreement to be an eligible participant in such fund. Such fund shall be administered by the representative labor organization or organizations having a valid project labor agreement.”
Quick hits on New York casino bill
Other key elements of the bill include:
- $11 million in funding for problem gambling
- 31 eligible skins: seven brick-and-mortar casinos (including three downstate TBD), nine online sports betting operators, nine racinos, three tribes, three through a competitive process
- Each licensee can only have one skin
- One-time licensing fee of $2 million ($10 million for independent contractors), 10-year license term
- Live dealer, poker tournaments, iLottery
- Credit card deposits limited to $2,500 per year per licensee
- In the first 12 months, promotional spending discounts cannot exceed 1.75% of total monthly handle
Financial impact of iGaming in NY
Passing iGaming legislation is projected to bring $1 billion annually to New York’s coffers. It would take about a year to realize that money upon passage.
Addabbo explained why he feels it is is important for iGaming to get over the finish line in 2024:
- “Aside from the multi-billion deficit, No. 1, I don’t know if any state government wants $1 billion to be lost every year of their own money to other states, and worse, an illegal market, so this obviously would stop that.”
- “Plus it would help us realize revenue. And the key on revenue is while I put education aid as a placeholder, because this a new product, we can alter this and say, ‘Hey, this is new gaming revenue.’ I’d like to entertain the idea of using this for transportation, healthcare or helping veterans or other needs the state may have.”
- “And again the idea of helping people who might have an addiction.”