Sen. Addabbo’s NY online casino bill faces uphill battle

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The likelihood it gets legalized may be slim but New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo is still moving ahead with his online casino bill, even if Gov. Kathy Hochul did not include it in her budget plans.

Addabbo introduced S4856 on Wednesday, which would allow online casinos in New York state. Per the legislation, the following groups would be eligible to offer NY online casino wagering:

  • The four downstate casinos and three forthcoming upstate casinos
  • VLT parlors MGM Empire City Casino and Resorts World NYC
  • New York tribes
  • Online sports betting operators
  • Three independent applicants with at least 5% minority ownership

That could mean as many as 21 operators, each of which would need to pay a one-time fee of $2 million to get a license. However, if the licensee is going to let someone else, like an online operator, use that license to promote its brand, that online operator would need to pay an additional $10 million.

The state would tax online casino at 30.5% and put the industry under the purview of the New York Gaming Commission.

The bill would allow for slots, table games, online poker, and live dealer studios, however, live dealer did come with some stipulations. First, the live dealer studios will need to be located within the state. Additionally, any operator must agree to “produce an affidavit stating it shall enter into a labor peace agreement with labor organizations that are actively engaged in representing or attempting to represent gaming or hospitality industry workers.”

Of those tax dollars, $11 million a year would go to problem gambling funding in the state. There is also a measure in place that once someone deposits a lifetime total of $2,500, they receive responsible gambling messaging. Additionally, individuals will only be able to deposit up to $2,500 a year via a credit card.

During a hearing on New York online sports betting last month, Spectrum Gaming Group testified that online casinos in New York could produce as much as $4.3 billion per year annually in revenue by the fifth year of operation. That would mean roughly $1 billion in tax revenue for the state each year and more funds to help treat problem gambling and gambling addiction.