Despite no mention of iCasino in New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s preliminary budget, state Sen. Joseph Addabbo introduced a bill late Wednesday to legalize online casino games in New York state.
Addabbo was hoping Hochul would include some mention of iCasino revenue for the upcoming fiscal year, but he has said it’s possible to move the process along even if it’s excluded from the executive budget.
Senate Bill 4856 would legalize mobile casino gaming including slots, table games, and live dealer games, making licenses available to existing New York mobile sportsbook operators, casinos, tribes, and racinos. There would be three additional licenses available through a competitive bidding process to companies that have at least 5% minority ownership.
The proposed tax rate on gross gaming revenue in the bill is 30.5% and the fee for a 10-year license is set at $2 million.
A request for application would be issued by the New York Gaming Commission no later than July 1.
“Interactive gaming is now legal in seven states, including the border states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, while it is permitted only in person in New York at four upstate commercial gaming facilities and Native American Class III gaming facilities,” the bill states. “The Legislature hereby finds and declares that an interactive gaming wager that is made through virtual or electronic means from a location within New York state and is transmitted and accepted by electronic equipment” in the state would become legal.
Estimates project $4 billion market
Addabbo has long pushed for New York to continue to explore what tax revenue could be generated from iCasino, also sometimes referred to as iGaming, and the topic came up repeatedly at a Jan. 31 joint public hearing he organized along with Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow.
Mobile sportsbook operators DraftKings and FanDuel are among the companies pushing to legalize iCasino in New York, where estimates project that the vertical could produce $4 billion in gross gaming revenue by Year Five. At the Jan. 31 hearing, Addabbo expressed frustration that the tax revenue from that market continues to go to neighboring states as New Yorkers travel to wager on their mobile devices.
Mobile sports betting has been a major money maker for the state, with $1.36 billion in GGR in the first year, but it has the potential to be dwarfed by iCasino.
“Those states have found that, while sports betting is a good appetizer, iGaming has proven to be the main course as far as revenue generation is concerned,” Howard Glaser, head of government affairs for the casino games company Light and Wonder, said at the hearing.