Since the start of legal internet sports betting in January 2022, New York has become the largest online gambling market in the United States. The regulations requiring online casino servers to be located at land-based gambling facilities have led to an increase in brick-and-mortar casino properties in the state, with major operators competing for the remaining gambling licenses.
In light of these developments, Sen. Joseph Addabbo has introduced bill S8185 to support further growth of online casinos and to add the online lottery to New York’s gambling portfolio. The bill largely mirrors the 2023 version but also determines eligible applicants for some of the at-large licenses, specifically referring to the four downstate casinos and three forthcoming upstate casinos.
The bill also allows VLT parlors like MGM Empire City Casino and Resorts World NYC, as well as the New York Native American tribes and existing online sports betting operators, to run casino operations in the state. Additionally, it permits three additional licenses following a competitive bid to further boost the market handle.
The legislation also focuses on diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) principles instead of minority ownership, whereby eligible applicants must abide by an affirmative action program of equal opportunity approved by the commission. This involves setting specific goals for the utilization of minorities, women, and veterans in full-time, permanent jobs at the interactive gaming license’s place of operation.
Operators are required to pay an upfront $2 million fee for a license, with out-of-state platform operators requested to pay a $10 million fee. All operators must pay a 30.5 percent tax on gambling operations to remain eligible, with gaming tax revenues collected by the state being distributed across employee training and responsible gaming programs. The bill also allocates 0.025% of annual tax revenue for these purposes, with a mandatory $25 million threshold requirement.
Other responsible gaming measures included in the bill are notifying gamblers likely to exceed the $2,500 gambling safety limit to ensure responsible gaming behavior in the New York market. Overall, bill S8185 seeks to further expand and regulate the online gambling industry in New York.