While New York wasn’t able to work online casino legislation and expansion of its online sports betting system into its most recent budget, those issues aren’t dead for the year. In fact, recent activity in the state’s Senate shows New York gaming expansion is still on the table.
Bills allowing for those changes were a part of three to advance from one committee to another on Monday. The path forward is still uncertain from here, though.
New York gaming expansion bills proceed
On Monday, the New York Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee advanced three bills pertaining to this topic. All the votes were unanimous and the bills are:
Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who chairs the Racing committee, sponsored all three bills. The three bills are not on their way to the full Senate floor just yet, though. All three now rest in the Senate’s Finance Committee because all three contain language governing the state’s use of gambling revenue.
S8412 would authorize online casino and NY online poker play. It would require operators of those platforms to contract with commercial casinos in the state and tax revenue from iGaming at a rate of 25%.
S8471 could expand the number of licenses for online sports betting in New York to 16 by the end of January 2024. It would establish a kind of “reverse” graduated tax rate depending on the number of active operators. If the state were to hit the cap of 16, for example, the current 51% rate would drop to 25%.
S8801 would cut the tax rate that Tioga Downs pays on its slots revenue. In exchange for that, it requires the casino to use the savings to re-hire laid-off employees or make capital improvements to the property.
It’s unclear how much, if any, support any of these bills have in the Finance Committee. It doesn’t seem that a vote on any of the three is imminent, though.
New York bills not set to move right away
The Finance Committee had a meeting on Tuesday but none of the bills were on the agenda. Currently, the committee has not set a date and time for its next meeting. Whether any of these three bills will appear on the agenda next time is also unclear.
Companion bills in the state Assembly that Assemblyman Gary Pretlow sponsors have not moved in over a month. The Assembly Racing committee that Pretlow chairs also met on Tuesday but not did take up any of those bills.
Still, Addabbo bringing them up for a vote in his Senate committee he chairs points toward an intent to see them move beyond their current status. They also represent a choice by Addabbo to shift away from other gaming expansion pushes.
Earlier this session, Addabbo submitted bills that would have legalized fixed-odds wagering on horse races and let sports stadium owners install sports betting kiosks for bettors to use. None of the bills now in the Finance Committee address either of those issues.
Businesses like the state’s two MLB franchises might find that displeasing and hope for some change there. For the New York Mets and Yankees, placing those kiosks could be a relatively simple matter.
Yankees expand deal with FanDuel
While the Racing commission was voting Monday, the Yankees were dealing. The MLB team re-upped and expanded a partnership with FanDuel, making it an official sports betting partner of the Yankees.
In exchange for its sponsorship dollars, FanDuel gets “premium VIP hospitality accommodations at Yankee Stadium” and signage around the park. FanDuel became a Yankees sponsor in 2020, at the time merely for daily fantasy sports.
The Mets count Caesars as their official sports betting partner. That partnership includes a forthcoming Caesars-branded sports betting lounge at Citi Field. There is no public plan for a similar space at Yankee Stadium right now.
Other New York teams have made similar deals. The Brooklyn Nets, Buffalo Bills, New York Islanders, New York Knicks, and New York Rangers all have existing gambling partnerships.
Should the law ever allow those partnerships could expand to include betting kiosks at the appropriate stadiums. The expansion of sports betting licenses and the introduction of online casinos plus online poker could increase the number of such relationships.
New gambling brands could be set to enter New York
Some iGaming operators that missed out on the chance to snag one of the first nine online sports betting licenses in New York might be hoping for the passage of S8471. Even those brands already in the state could get excited about S8412 if it becomes law.
Online sportsbooks currently on the outside looking into New York include Hard Rock, FOX Bet, and Unibet. While whether New York would actually ever fill all 16 potential licenses is doubtful, there would likely be plenty of interest in iGaming licenses.
Many brands like BetMGM have platforms like BetMGM Casino and BetMGM Poker ready to go should they ever get the chance. It would just be a matter of finding an entry point into the market.
Under the terms of S8412, each commercial and tribal casino in the state could contract with two such platforms. With the coming expansion of commercial casinos in the state, the number of available licenses could be as many as 46.
All that speculation now rests on the activity of the Senate Finance Committee. Its members will decide whether more New York gaming expansion will happen this year or not.