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Velimir Velichkov January 17, 2024 2 min read
Online Casinos Don’t Make New York Budget Cut in 2024
The legalization of online gambling this year remains uncertain as the activity wasn't included in Gov. Kathy Hochul's FY 2025 Budget
January 8, 2024, marked the second year of legalized online sports betting for the market in New York. The activity broke all records for that period, with billions of wagers and significant proceeds to the state and the operators who hold a license. While sports betting surpassed even the brightest predictions, online gambling may not see the light of day, at least this year.
On Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the state’s FY 2025 Budget. Surprisingly, the $233 billion budget did not mention online gambling, a move that may doom the legalization of the activity this year. Upon releasing the budget, the Governor explained: “This budget makes it clear that fiscal discipline can co-exist with progressive, people-driven policies.”
Moreover, Hochul said: “I am committed to fight the right fights on behalf of New Yorkers, and to pursue the common good with common sense – by seeking common ground.” Interestingly enough, iGaming didn’t get much traction during 2023 and it wasn’t included in the 2024 state budget as well.
Now, despite the predictions that the state can benefit from tax revenue by legalizing online gambling, the activity isn’t included in the recently released budget. Still, this doesn’t guarantee that iGaming won’t be up for debate or lawmakers won’t consider it.
Proposal Calls for the Legalization of iLottery, iGaming
The FY 2025 Budget was announced days after Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a supporter of the legalization of iGaming activities, officially filed an online gambling and lottery bill in New York. Continuing his efforts toward legalizing iGaming, the Senator introduced Senate Bill 8185. The proposal called for the legalization of online lottery and iGaming activities across the state.
Senate Bill 8185 follows another proposal introduced by Sen. Addabbo last year, S4856. Yet, a significant difference between the two bills is that the new one includes online lotteries. While S4856 never really lifted off, Senate Bill 8185 reaffirms the Senator’s dedication toward the legalization of the activity.
The proposal calls for the implementation of a 30.5% tax on gross gaming revenue, applicable to online gambling operators. This high tax rate reminds of online sports wagering in the state, which is subject to a 51% tax.
Not unexpectedly, under the new proposal, players need to be age 21 or older to engage in online gambling activities. To secure a license in the state, independent contractors would be subject to a $10 million one-time licensee fee. On the other hand, existing operators would pay a one-time $2 million fee to secure a license.