New York Could Take Another Step Forward In Gambling Accessibility With Online Casino Bill

Written By Derek Helling on March 3, 2022 - Last Updated on March 25, 2022
Neighbors Of New York Should Expect The Online Casino Bill To Put Them On Par

New York Sen. Joseph Addabbo might not have gotten everything he wanted out of the legalization of online sports betting in his state, but it seems that hasn’t soured him to push for more gambling expansion whatsoever. The state senator has now introduced a bill to legalize New York online casinos.

It joins other gaming legislation currently on the docket for legislators in Albany. While its prospects are uncertain, it would undoubtedly go a long way toward bringing NY gaming on par with neighboring states.

New York online casino legalization makes appearance

Last month, Addabbo presented the bill, S8412. The bill would legalize online slots and table games in NY. Each land-based casino operator in the state would get a chance at a license. That would include tribal casinos within the state’s borders in addition to commercial properties.

The licensees could either offer their own platforms, contract with a third party to handle this segment of their businesses for them or both. Each licensee would get two skins so that they would have options.

Licenses would cost $2 million unless they plan to use their own online platforms. In that case, the applicant would have to pay an additional $10 million. Those fees would cover the licensure for a decade.

The revenue share with the state for Sen. Addabbo’s bill is a far cry from the national high of 51% that New York gets from its online sportsbook partners. Addabbo’s bill calls for 25% of revenue from online casinos to go to the state.

The bill earmarks that money for education and responsible gambling program support. Companies with online casino platforms that are ready to go might jump at the chance to add NY to their portfolio.

Potentials for New York online casinos

Just because of its sheer population alone, New York is an attractive market for gambling companies. Several of the current casino licensees have their own online gambling platforms, so they could quickly pivot into New York if the opportunity presents itself.

That includes Rush Street Interactive, a subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming. Rush Street operates the Rivers Casino in Schenectady.

Additionally, should Empire City Casino in Yonkers get a Class III license in the future, it could bring BetMGM Casino and/or Borgata Casino to NY.

Resorts World has a casino in Monticello and another potential Class III licensee in Queens. That company just launched its own online sports betting channel. Whether it would do the same for an online casino platform is speculative right now.

Other casinos have existing retail sports betting partnerships that could expand to bring online casino products to the Empire State. For example, DraftKings runs the brick-and-mortar sportsbook inside del Lago Casino in Waterloo.

DraftKings runs an online casino platform in neighboring Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Tioga Downs has an identical deal with FanDuel, potentially opening the door to FanDuel Casino.

Each licensee having two skins opens the state up to many brands that don’t have a way in right now. The state is also set to award up to three more Class III licenses as soon as later this year.

Addabbo’s bill would not only give those licensees another revenue stream but also bring NY on par with gambling accessibility in CT. However, it would still lag behind New Jersey and Pennslyvania in one important area.

Where’s the love for New York online poker?

In its current version, Addabbo’s bill makes no mention of online poker. Players in both NJ and PA have access to legal channels of that kind. So why might Addabbo have left it out?

He might have done so to enhance his bill’s chance of actually becoming law. Adding both online casino and online poker to the state’s legal gambling menu less than two months after legal online sportsbooks launched might have been a pill too large for some of his colleagues to swallow.

That might still be the case. The bill has no co-sponsors, and so far, no other New York legislators have committed to supporting Addabbo’s bill. This might be the first of a string of failures before eventual success.

Addabbo tried for several years to get online sports betting passed before that actually happened in 2021. He could apply the same negotiation tactics and tenacity to getting online casinos over the hump.

The question is whether that final product will resemble Addabbo’s current proposal. Either way, it seems foolish to bet against him in this arena.

Photo by Atanas Bezov / Shutterstock.com
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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