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NY Lawmaker Proposes Increase of Mobile Sportsbooks

New York Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow wants to make another positive impact on the Empire State’s gambling industry as he introduces new legislation. His proposed legislation would allow having 16 mobile sports betting operators to be active in the local market, which is almost double the amount of the current nine licensed to operate in the state.

The mobile sports betting sector of the state launched on January 8, 2022, and a total of nine operators were approved and licensed by the New York State Gaming Commission to go live. However, the model has not been welcomed by everyone as some believe that the limited operator model would take away the variety from local sports bettors.

The New Bill

Despite the limited amount of online sportsbooks in the Empire State and its only recent launch, it has already transformed into the biggest mobile sports betting market in the country. For its first two months of operations, it reached more than US$3 billion in handle. However, Mr. Pretlow believes there is still room to grow as his bill would allow the increase to 16 operators by 2024.

The new legislation would allow for a graduated increase of the number of active mobile sportsbook operators in the state, while in the meantime reducing the tax rate for the gaming firms. Currently, operators need to pay 51% of their gross gaming revenue to the state, and while also paying a time fee of US$25 million for the licenses by the commission.

For example, if the number of online sportsbooks increases to 10, then the tax rate would be adjusted to 50%. If the operators reach the number of 15 then the tax rate would be decreased all the way to 25%. The current tax matrix is the highest one for a state which offers mobile sports betting in the whole country, and this has led to some negativity among industry stakeholders.

However, in order for Mr. Pretlow’s legislation to be approved, it will also need to be reviewed and greenlit by the New York State Gaming Commission. Last November, the regulator approved a total of nine operators, but as of now, eight are online in the market. The operational ones are FanDuel, Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, PointsBet, BetMGM, WynnBET, BetRivers, and Resorts World.

In addition, Mr. Pretlow indicated that more sportsbooks in the state would also provide more jobs for locals as well as bigger tax revenue for the state. He also noted that there are no minority-operated brands among the approved nine operators, which is a sign of a lack of diversity. In his words, the only one was Fanatics Sportsbook but the commission did not award it with a license.

Addabbo’s Legislation

The assemblyman’s new bill comes at the same time as Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Chair Joe Addabbo is also looking to expand the Empire State’s gaming industry. This legislation named Bill S8412 is one that would allow iGaming activities in the state, which will be conducted via partnerships between online casinos and retails, tribal nations, and their independent contractors.