With the new state budget deadline looming, there have been some changes to two bills introduced last week in the House and Senate that addressed mobile New York sports betting enhancements and expansion.
Both the state Assembly and state Senate budgets were released Monday. Now, discussions will take place during the next two weeks to add, change and submit by the April 1 state budget deadline imposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“Our message has been very clear from the outset: We are not going to say now that mobile sports betting has been announced, that’s the end of it,” state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, said Tuesday. “We are open to anything that will make mobile sports betting a better product in a very competitive market. We are not going to be complacent.”
Closer Look at Both Budgets
The Senate one-house budget includes an amendment to add online sports betting operators and include more minority-controlled businesses. Those same stipulations are included in the Assembly budget.
The Senate budget also has the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), after a competitive bid process, awarding up to three downstate casino licenses, each for a $1 billion fee. The NYSGC then would issue a RFA (request for application) no later than July 1, with a final deadline no later than 60 days after the date of request. The licenses must be awarded and fees fully paid by Dec 1, with an initial duration time of 10 years.
The Assembly one-house budget has the NYSGC awarding up to seven new online sportsbook licenses. That would make 16 when added to the nine current operational licenses. There will be a competitive bid process before the July 1 deadline for request of applications. The final submission deadline will be no later than 30 days from the request date.
The budget also has a goal to award 30% of the new mobile sports betting licenses to minority-owned businesses.
Bill Frenzy Last Week
Late last week, Addabbo introduced Bill S08471 to coincide with state Assemblyman Gary Pretlow’s A08658. The bills aim to lower the 51% tax rate for mobile sportsbooks in the state by adding additional skins over the next two years. (Skins are brands that are allowed to operate under a master license.)
Those two original bills call for the state to raise the number of sportsbooks licenses from the current nine to no fewer than 14 by Jan. 31, 2023. This will allow the tax rate to go from 51% to 35%. By Jan. 31, 2024, the total number of mobile sportsbooks could go to no fewer than 16, which again would lower the tax rate from 35% to 25%.
The only remaining operator not taking wagers among the nine originally licensed is BallyBet New York, which expects to launch next month.
The first cleared to launch Jan. 8 were Caesars Sportsbook New York, FanDuel New York, BetRivers New York and Draft Kings New York. Next up, on Jan. 17, was BetMGM New York, followed by PointsBet New York (Jan. 25), WynnBET New York (Feb. 4) and Resorts World New York (March 3).
The 51% tax rate is tied with New Hampshire for the largest in the nation. New Jersey, for instance, has a 13% tax rate.
The new proposals also offer other mobile providers that applied the first time in the state but did not make the cut to re-apply. Those would include Barstool Sports (Penn National Gaming), Bet365, Fanatics, FoxBet and theScore.
Also in both bills is the ability for current and future operators to deduct promotional play for which they are taxed.
In February, Addabbo introduced a bill that he hopes could bring online interactive gaming to the state.
That bill, S8412, would include any authorized casino slot or table game determined to be suitable for any online wagering. The key bill points include casinos would house servers (just like sports betting); two skins for each license holder, which would include both casinos and tribes; 25% tax rate (sports betting is 51%) and master licenses will have a $2 million fee plus $10 million for each online skin.
The Senate bill on Monday called for any new licenses to still have an initial tax rate of 51 percent. That was not stipulated by the Assembly.
Handle Numbers Staying Steady in NY
New York mobile sports wagering handle posted $359.49 million for the week ending March 6, up from $350.3 million the week before. The number marked the eighth consecutive week the state’s total handle has exceeded the $350 million mark.
Overall, mobile Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) had a solid jump to just under $33 million, a $7.6 million increase from $25.34 million, marking the third week in a row and fourth in the last five in which the total GGR was more than $25 million.
The state has received more than $120 million in taxes from sports betting through March 6.