New York Online Casinos May Be Brought Up at Jan. 31 Sports Betting Hearing

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New York online casinos, both online and on land, may be on the minds of lawmakers and others invited to speak during a public meeting on Jan. 31 in Albany. Its purpose is to examine the impact of online sportsbooks.

On Jan. 8, the state’s sports betting marketplace turned one. So the Jan. 31 hearing in Albany will “review Mobile Sports Wagering’s first year in operation and its impact on the New York State Budget.”

Meanwhile, the legislators calling the joint public hearing on the sportsbooks have bills pending that would add to New York’s legal online gambling marketplace. Plus, state Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. plans to add another piece of legislation soon that would legalize New York online casinos.

So chances are, the individuals who received emails on Friday from Addabbo and state Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow will want to hear about all three matters. Also, they’ll want to talk about the current New York sports betting marketplace with Addabbo, chairman of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, and Pretlow, chairman of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Racing and Wagering.

However, it’s unclear who received the emails with an attached form about providing “oral testimony by invitation only” on Jan. 31 during the joint committee public hearing.

Whomever they are, they need to return the attendance forms “by Jan. 27 for [those] seeking to attend in person, and by Jan. 30, for those seeking to submit written testimony.” Then the hearing will happen at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 31 in Hearing Room A of the Legislative Office Building.

Because Addabbo said to Bonus that he’d wanted to have a hearing so lawmakers could discuss online gambling, invitees probably include fellow legislators.

New York Online Casinos Bill Expected, 2 Active iGaming Bills

That first bill that Addabbo, D-Ozone Park, introduced on Jan. 17 would increase New York’s current nine online sportsbooks to 16 by the 2025 Super Bowl. It would also lower the 51% tax rate sites now pay to 25% once there are 15 or more sportsbooks.

Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, sponsored legislation that would legalize online poker. The bill entered his committee on Jan. 17.

Soon, Addabbo and Pretlow will likely team up again this year to spearhead an effort to legalize New York online casinos and poker rooms.

Last year’s plans failed because they weren’t included in the state budget that the New York State Legislature needs to approve in April before the Assembly and Senate adjourn.

Addabbo told Bonus he thought the bill he sponsored might have been introduced too late in the session to pass. He said Feb. 24, 2022, may also have been too soon to introduce the proposed legislation, considering New York’s sports betting marketplace had only launched on Jan. 8, 2022.

So he decided the intervening time would provide an opportunity to lay the groundwork for New York online casinos to become legal this year.

3 Downstate Retail Casino Licenses

Even though retail casinos are land-based, they may become part of the online sportsbook conversation.

New York’s nine online sportsbooks are partnered with retail casinos. Those four Upstate New York commercial casinos already have full licenses.

On Feb. 3, a board appointed by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) will receive answers to the first round of questions it asked applicants interested in buying three Downstate New York retail casino licenses.

Once seven full retail casino licenses are awarded, that’ll be all current New York law allows.

Addabbo previously told Bonus those new commercial casino licensees the New York Gaming Facility Board (NYGFB) will pick months from now could then partner with more online sportsbooks. If his bill to expand the number of online sportsbooks becomes law, that would enable those partnership possibilities.

The State of New York Online Sportsbooks

The email the Jan. 31 hearing invitees received provides a synopsis of the current New York online sportsbook situation, according to Addabbo and Pretlow.

The lawmakers are legal gambling expansion advocates.

So the speaker form portrays New York sports betting positively:

On November 8, 2021, the Gaming Commission authorized nine operators to run mobile sports wagering in New York State. As of the end of October of this year, it has generated $542 million in taxes, and $200 million in licensing fees for a total of more than $740 million in revenue, most of which is for the support of New York’s education system. As the first year of mobile sports wagering implementation comes to an end, the committees are interested in examining the overall economic impact that mobile sports wagering will have on the New York State Budget.

Gov. Kathy C. Hochul tallies the tax revenue higher, at $909 million in precisely one year.

Legal New York online casinos will generate tax revenue that will “eclipse” what sports betting brings in, Addabbo recently told Bonus. Indeed, Bonus calculates New York could see between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion in tax revenue from online casino and poker gambling if it also taxes sites at 51%.

Possible Speaker Topics

In addition to speakers who may want to know if New York will reduce the tax rate on current sportsbooks, there will likely be orators who have other objections.

Current sports betting sites market with “predatory sportsbook bonuses,” alleges state Sen. Peter B. Harckham, D-Lewisboro. On Nov. 30, 2022, he introduced a bill that reacted to Nov. 20 online gambling industry coverage by The New York Times that Harckham says needs to be addressed. His office told Bonus that Harckham will reintroduce the bill during the regular Senate session that began on Jan. 4, which he hasn’t yet done.

On Jan. 12, proposed legislation entered Addabbo’s committee that would require “all advertisements for gambling and sports betting to include warnings about potential harmful and addictive effects of gambling; requires the state gaming commission to cooperate with the commissioner of addiction services and supports to ensure that all advertisements for gaming activity state a problem gambling hotline number.”

State Sen. Leroy Comrie, D-St. Albans, sponsored the Senate bill. A companion bill in the Assembly, introduced on Jan. 13 by Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, D-Queens Village, is in Pretlow’s committee.

As Addabbo and Bonus note, the current online sports betting law already calls for many of these responsible gambling measures.

However, with speakers being given 10 minutes each to talk and providing 10 copies of their prepared statements to the committee, there’ll probably be far more issues raised.

That will probably reveal where legalizing New York online casinos stand.

About the Author
Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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