New York State’s budget approval is due on April 1, 2022, and the government is trying to push two gaming items in it that will further elevate the local gambling sector. The first one is the increase of mobile sports betting operators in the state’s new market to allow greater variety and the other one is the issue of downstate commercial casino licenses.
At the start of this year, the Empire State launched its online sports betting market, and a total of nine operators are allowed to offer their products online. However, some industry representatives and New York lawmakers have suggested that the number is too low and that there are no minority-operated sportsbooks.
Challenges are Still on the Way
On Friday, Senator Joe Addabbo commented that lawmakers will try to transform the state into the number one gaming destination in the country. However, there are still some challenges on the way to do that, as gambling industry representatives were shocked by the US$1 billion fee and the 45% tax rate on slots for downstate casino licenses. And the Senator urged everyone to let the process dictate the value.
In addition to that, there are other issues such as the potential siting of the downstate commercial properties. For instance, existing VLTs such as Resorts World New York City and Empire City Casino would still have to go through the licensing process like every other applicant. And the two properties could have an advantage, considering that they are already up and running in the state.
When it comes to mobile sports betting, the biggest concern among industry leaders is that the tax rate of 51% is too high. Still, the Senate’s one-house budget plan did not include a reduction despite suggesting an increase in skins count. Mr. Addabbo explained that if the reduction of tax rate means a reduction for educational funds then the state would not consider it.
Previously, several bills were introduced that would further expand the gaming industry of the state, such as fixed-odds horse racing and NASCAR online for sports betting operators, as well as wagering kiosks at stadiums, arenas, and racetracks, and the long-awaited introduction of iGaming. The senator shared that he likes the idea of expanding the industry and that is in its initial stages of development.
The legalization of iGaming offerings in the Empire State was proposed by Mr. Addabbo himself in Bill S8412 that was introduced to the New York Senate. If passed the legislation would allow licensed casinos and gaming operators to offer certain iGaming products online, including slots and table games. According to him, it would generate around US$475 million in state tax revenue every year from the legalization.
March Madness Betting Volume
Despite mobile sports wagering moving a little bit slower after the Super Bowl, the state expects high March Madness betting volume, despite its restriction. Currently, New Yorkers are not allowed to bet on local college teams that are in the NCAA tournament, and thankfully for them, Colgate was the local team in it.
Source: Mazzeo, Mike “Momentum Builds On NY Gaming Front As Budget Deadline Nears, But Questions Remain”, PlayNY, March 21, 2022