Online Casinos Could Soon Come to New York with New iGaming Bill
New York players may soon be able to access real money online casinos as efforts to legalize online casinos have resurfaced with the introduction of Senate Bill 856 by State Senator Joseph Addabbo (D).
The bill, which has been carried forward from the 2023 legislative session, seeks to establish a legal framework for online casino gaming, including interactive slot machines, table games, and the sale of online lottery tickets for games like Powerball and Mega Millions.
SB856 allows New York’s commercial and Tribal casinos, racinos, and online sportsbooks to apply for iGaming privileges. It also opens up the application process to certain entities with at least 5% minority ownership. The bill stipulates a $2 million licensing fee for interested parties, with a 30.5% tax on iGaming revenues, which would be directed into the state’s Lottery Fund to benefit education primarily.
Senator Addabbo, a long-time advocate for the state’s gaming industry and Chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, has supported various gaming initiatives. His endorsement of iGaming is rooted in the belief that it could significantly contribute to the state’s economy and help bridge the looming budget deficit, which Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli estimates to be $4.3 billion for 2024, escalating to $8 billion by 2025.
Addabbo told City & State in December, “As we prepare to enter a new legislative session with COVID-era funding from the federal government expiring, we face a looming budget deficit of great proportions.”
“At a time of fiscal distress for our state, we cannot continue to allow hundreds of millions of dollars to be funneled into neighboring states or the pockets of [offshore casino] companies — particularly when those funds could be used to further bolster funding for public schools or other worthy services.”
Advocates for legal iGaming in the state project that New York could generate over $1 billion annually in tax revenue through iGaming. The legalization of iGaming will substantially boost the state’s finances without negatively impacting existing establishments, Addabbo insists.
“All reports indicate that these states are seeing a net increase in tax revenue from these activities with no detrimental effects on brick-and-mortar businesses such as casinos and convenience stores that sell lottery tickets,” Addabbo said.
The bill’s chances of success in the New York State Legislature are not yet clear, particularly as the state prepares to issue three new downstate casino licenses, expanding the region’s entertainment and tourism offerings.