New York is looking for more ways of harvesting revenue and it seems that the legalization of online casino offerings is the way forward. On February 3, 2023, a bill to decriminalize interactive gambling has been advanced to the Assembly. Its introduction is even expected to overshadow the performance of the mobile sports betting market, which already brings millions in revenue.
According to Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., D-Ozone Park, the legalization of online casino gaming in the state would bring more annual gross gaming revenue than online sports wagering. In contrast, in its first year, digital sportsbooks generated about US$1.4 billion in GGR which under the 51% tax rate, translated into just above US$700 million in tax revenue.
However, in order for online casino offerings to become reality, Empire State lawmakers would need to give their go-ahead. In light of this, on Friday, February 3, 2023, Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow introduced Bill A3634. If passed, this measure would allow retail casinos to team up with two websites, thus allowing up to 14 online casinos in the state.
Under the current mobile sports betting model, four Upstate casinos are in collaboration with the state’s nine mobile sportsbooks. In the meantime, the state is in the process of reviewing applications for the other three commercial casinos in the downstate region. Once all seven casinos are up and running, they would be able to team up with two casinos each.
It should be mentioned that Mr. Pretlow is the chairman of the committee and his bill is now awaiting review. The legislation will join a previous bill which would legalize online poker in the state introduced on January 17, 2023. The recently proposed measures for online casinos and digital poker come with a tax rate of 25% and 15%, respectively.
As the proposal for the legalization of iCasinos moves forward, lawmakers will have more questions and concerns about it potentially damaging the business of land-based casinos. This was an issue raised by state Sen. Pamela A. Helming, R-Canandaigua at a public hearing on January 31, 2023. That is why Sen. Addabbo proposed a committee hearing for legislators to discuss the matter.
Problem Gambling is Definitely a Concern
However, with the recent advancements in online gambling in the Empire State, more and more young adults have reported compulsive gambling habits. This was recently reported by the New York Council on Problem Gambling, which claimed that the demographic of 18- to 24-year-olds has now practically become pathological gamblers.
Experts from the council inform that since the legalization of mobile sports betting the council’s referral network telephone line has recorded a 25% increase in calls seeking help. The organization also came up with the proposal to use 3% of the online gaming revenue or approximately US$21 million should be set aside for services for problem gambling.
Source: Fletcher, Heather “New York Online Casino Moves Forward, Could ‘Eclipse’ Sportsbook Revenue” NY Sports Day, February 6, 2023