New York Senate Commits to iGaming Expansion – Casino Reports

Despite most recently introducing the fast-track of downstate casino licenses, New York lawmakers continue to work hard on expanding the state’s gaming field. This week, the New York Senate has started its post-budget legislative session, and it has informed that it is committed to financing bills to expand the Empire State’s regulated gambling sector.

At the start of April, local legislators approved a final budget for the new fiscal year, and the new plan included a language to expand land-based casinos by accelerating the issuance of downstate casino licenses. However, the highly-sought increase of mobile sports betting operators was omitted from the budget, and lawmakers are now working toward bringing it to life.

In Discussions Now

In addition to the introduction of a higher number of mobile sports betting apps and the introduction of online gaming as a legal option in the state, Sen. Joe Addabbo would also like to see fixed-odds betting on horse races. His idea is to include the vertical in mobile sportsbooks before the end of the current legislative session that ends on June 2, 2022.

Mr. Addabbo has set to have the inclusion of online casino gambling as his number one priority for the fiscal 2023-2024 budget. Discussions about the matter are projected to start in December before potentially including in the governor’s January Executive Budget. He said that he and other lawmakers are currently laying the foundation to have the vertical in next year’s budget.

Bill S8471, which brings more online sports betting operators, and Bill S8412 which decriminalizes iGaming in the state, have been passed by the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. However, state racinos have expressed concerns that this could lead to potential cannibalization if the state’s online casino gaming is limited to fully-licensed operators. But Mr. Addabbo assures that this is not the intent, and it is a topic for further discussions.

The Senator has also proposed to also introduce self-service kiosks at stadiums, arenas, and racetracks from all around the state. In his words, this is a legislation that he would push in the current session, instead of waiting for next year. He said that the bill will be a heavy lift, but lawmakers will definitely discuss whether they will be added or removed.

The Three Downstate Licenses

For its current budget, Empire State legislators have opted to introduce the long-discussed acceleration of downstate casino licenses. Now, there are three available full-casino commercial licenses for grabs. Companies that wish to acquire one must apply to the New York State Gaming Commission. It will cost them approximately US$500 million in licensing fees, provided that they receive approval from the regulator.

Many legislators are lobbying to have the three licenses in New York City, as Empire City Casino in Yonkers, and Resorts World NYC are among the favorites. However, recently, Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried commented that he does not want to see a gaming property in the borough. He is not exactly fond of the idea, as it could have a negative influence on the area.

Source: Mazzeo, Mike “Post-Budget Legislative Session Starts With Online Casino, Expanded Sports Betting Proposals”, PlayNY, April 26, 2022