Not Done Yet: Sen. Addabbo Still Pushing Several NY Gaming Bills Before Session Ends June 2

Written By Mike Mazzeo on April 12, 2022 - Last Updated on April 19, 2022

Legal online sports betting is here.

Three downstate NY casinos are coming, too. However, an exact timeframe remains unclear.

Yet Sen. Joe Addabbo isn’t done.

Addabbo would still like to accomplish more on the New York gaming front before the post-budget session concludes June 2.

Lawmakers pursue NY sports betting expansion

Assemb. Gary Pretlow and Addabbo attempted to expand online sports betting in New York to include more operators, lowering the controversial 51% tax rate as a result. But after inclusion in both the Senate and Assembly one-house proposals — albeit with different language and parameters — the bill failed to gain any traction.

A bill to include online casino gaming was quickly shot down — seen as “too much, too soon” — though Addabbo’s goal was just to begin the conversation with an eye toward next year’s budget.

Addabbo also hopes to expand the menu of online sports betting offerings to include fixed-odds horseracing and NASCAR, in addition to enabling stadiums, arenas and racetracks to install betting kiosks across the state. There was the daily fantasy sports expansion as well.

Addabbo will continue to fight for NY gambling expansion

Even if it is largely an uphill battle — especially on the expansion front, with the state having generated a whopping $168.1 million in tax revenue — Addabbo plans to keep trying.

And yes, it’s an election year, too.

“I will continue to talk about iGaming just to lay the groundwork,” Addabbo said over the weekend. “I will continue to talk about horseracing, NASCAR and other amenities build into online sports betting, and I will talk about expansion this session.

“Now, I do think the expansion of online sports betting in terms of skins  —and in terms of tinkering with the tax rates — I think that’s a better discussion even after session, months down the road — when football picks up again — but let’s see. Because we’re so successful with it, why tinker with it now? And some of our financial analysts said it may be detrimental to the state in terms of educational funding.

“But incorporating other things — kiosks or horseracing, those things — I think are separate and apart from the number of operators. I think those things can be done before the end of session. So I will talk about that. And we’ll talk to the industry and I’ll talk to my legal counsel team and we’ll see if it’s a credible, obtainable goal here.”

Even after June 2, NY gambling talks will go on

Many of these issues — especially the 51% tax rate — will remain even after the session ends. The state had no appetite for dropping it given how much tax revenue online sportsbooks has produced for educational funding. And its position has been that operators knew exactly what they were signing up for given the licensing agreement.

Yet lobbying efforts on the issue have persisted. And they don’t figure to stop anytime soon. After all, the path to long-term profitability and recovering massive promotional spend for NY online sportsbooks remains murky.

As it stands, operators like Fanatics, Barstool Sports/Penn National Gaming and Bet365, which didn’t make the first cut but may still want into the Empire State market at a lower rate, are out of the mix.

Photo by AP / Hans Pennink
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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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