New York Senator Addabbo Introduces Legislation for Online Lottery Expansion

Since the launch of legal internet sports betting in January 2022, New York has emerged as the largest online gambling market in the United States. The regulations stipulating that online casino servers must be located at land-based gambling facilities have led to a surge in brick-and-mortar casino properties in the state, with major operators vying for the remaining gambling licenses.

In light of this growth, Sen. Joseph Addabbo has introduced bill S8185 to support the expansion of online casinos and to potentially add the online lottery to the Empire State’s gambling portfolio. The bill, which has been filed for the upcoming legislative session, is designed to further stimulate the online gambling market.

One key aspect of the bill is that it determines eligible applicants for some of the at-large licenses, particularly for the four downstate casinos and three upcoming upstate casinos. The bill also proposes allowing VLT parlors like MGM Empire City Casino and Resorts World NYC to run casino operations in the state, as well as opening up opportunities for the New York Native American tribes and existing online sports betting operators to obtain licenses.

A noteworthy change is that the bill shifts the focus from requiring minority ownership to implementing principles of diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI). This means that eligible applicants will need to abide by an affirmative action program that establishes specific goals for utilizing minorities, women, and veterans in full-time, permanent jobs at the interactive gaming license’s place of operation.

In terms of fees, operators will be required to pay an upfront fee of $2 million for a license, with out-of-state platform operators needing to pay a $10 million fee. Additionally, all operators will have to pay a 30.5 percent tax on gambling operations in order to remain eligible. The gaming tax revenues collected by the state will be distributed across employee training and responsible gaming programs.

The bill also outlines a plan to allocate 0.025% of annual tax revenue for these purposes under a mandatory $25 million threshold requirement. Other responsible gaming measures included in the bill involve notifying gamblers who are likely to exceed the $2,500 gambling safety limit, aiming to ensure responsible gaming behavior in New York.