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This week, the New York Senate and State House Assembly voted on two different bills that would set in motion the construction of new casino licences for the downstate region, including one in New York City.
They also pave the way for the state’s long-awaited rollout of mobile sports betting, with up to two sports wagering brands licenced per casino. If all goes according to schedule, the current seven casinos (four commercial and three tribal) and three proposed casinos will produce a total of 20 licences.
The sports betting bill
Unlike Governor Andrew Cuomo’s lottery-based model, Senate budget proposal S 2509B provides for multiple operators in an attempt to expand competitiveness and preference across the state. The sports-betting bill proposed in the New York State House of Assembly, Bill A 3009, is more comparable in substance to Assemblyman Gary Pretlow’s bill.
The Assembly bill calls for each of the state’s four commercial casinos and three tribal gaming operators to have two smartphone skins, at a rate of $12 million per licence. Mobile betting will be taxed at 12 percent, while terrestrial betting will be taxed at 8.5 percent. Off-track betting facilities will be able to form a partnership with a casino to operate self-service kiosks on their premises.
July 1st deadline
The planned three downstate casino applications have a July 1 deadline, and each developer would be expected to pay $500 million in licence fees. Empire City in Yonkers and Resorts World Casino in Queens are the two existing downstate casinos that could be first in line for sports betting licences.
Although the moves announced this week will be embraced by the eager sports betting industry, there are still obstacles to overcome before New York can get down to business. To continue, the Senate and Assembly must resolve the contradictions between the two budget plans, and Cuomo must be persuaded to abandon his single-operator vision.
However, with New York lagging behind rival states New Jersey and Pennsylvania in terms of sports betting revenue, the Governor could be forced to adopt a more free-market strategy close to that seen in other states.