New York introduces online casino gaming bill though long legislative road remains
New York lawmakers Friday introduced a bill that could create the nation’s most lucrative legal online casino gaming market, but its political fate remains unclear.
If passed, the bill would allow licensed operators to offer legal real-money digital slots as well as table games approved by state regulators. Though the bill doesn’t specify which games would or not be permitted, regulators would likely approve most major popular games such as blackjack and roulette as well as poker.
New York is the nation’s largest mobile sports betting market, generating more than $16bn in handle in just the state’s first 12 months with legal online wagering. It would likely be the nation’s highest-grossing iCasino market as well and could eclipse Ontario, Canada for the largest single digital gaming jurisdiction on the continent.
The bill would allow up to 14 mobile sites, two partners each for the state’s four open commercial casinos as well as three casinos set to be licensed this year. Native American gaming tribes with casinos in the state would also have iGaming access.
The state’s nine online sportsbooks would be among the likeliest companies to pursue licensure. US market share leaders FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars, which combined have more than 80% market share in both New York and the country overall. The other licensees are BetRivers, PointsBet, WynnBet, Bally Bet and Resorts World Bet.
New York sportsbooks pay 51% of their gross gaming revenue in taxes, the highest rate of any competitive sports betting market in the country, and are not allowed to deduct promotions or other expenses from their tax burden. The current bill would tax online casino gaming operators 25% of gross gaming revenue.
Online casino games also typically have much higher hold percentages than sportsbooks, which are around 8% nationally.
US iCasino environment
Though online casino games create higher margins for operators and tax revenues for state governments than sportsbooks, it has been much more difficult legislatively to approve these options in the US.
Only four states – New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia – have competitive commercial iGaming markets. Connecticut permits only two iCasino platforms and Delaware has one option run by the state lottery. Nevada has legal real money online poker but no other legal iCasino options.
More than 30 states have legalized some form of sports betting. More than 20 allow statewide mobile wagering.
Online table games and slots are more difficult to legalize politically over fears in part that it will spur gambling addiction. Some brick-and-mortar casino operators have opposed these games as well over fears it would cannibalize revenues, but studies and revenue results from legal markets have shown these games are attracting younger customers and serve as a compliment to retail casinos.
In New York, the bill is set for a hearing in the coming weeks in the state Assembly’s Racing and Wagering Committee. It will likely advance out of the committee, but it will likely face more pushback in the full Assembly and, should it make it that far, the full Senate.
Identical versions of the bill must pass both chambers before it can come it law.
New York gaming
The new iCasino bill joins a crowded list of gambling measures in Albany this session.
Lawmakers have already introduced bills to create increased problem gambling resources as well as reform the state’s pari-mutuel horse racing industry. These bills are in addition to sports betting legislation introduced last Friday that would require five more operators to be licensed in the state by next year and two more by 2025, bringing the total from nine to 16.
This comes as state officials are working on the three downstate commercial casino licenses. Two are expected to be awarded to MGM and Genting, which already operate gaming properties in the state. Nearly every other major gaming operator including Las Vegas Sands, Caesars, Wynn and other have applied for a license as well.
New York’s legislative session is set to end in June and its fiscal year is set to begin April 1. Gov. Kathy Hochul did not include iGaming revenue in her upcoming fiscal year budget.