New York Senator Introduces Bill to Legalize Online Poker and Casino Gaming

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A general view shows the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges across the East River in New York City on July 24, 2023. Angela Weiss / AFP

Go big or go home. That’s the motto one New York lawmaker appears to be following with his proposal for legalizing online poker and casino gaming in the Empire State.

Let’s take a further look into the proposal and its potential impact on top-rated sportsbooks.

10 Million Dollar Question

Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. recently introduced bill S9226. The bill would allow up to 10 online poker operators to operate in New York, each license would carry a $10 million fee and remain valid for 10 years, subject to a 15% tax rate. The New York State Gaming Commission would oversee and regulate the online poker market.

The Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, which Addabbo chairs, coincidentally, will review the bill at its next meeting on May 14.

Legislation Could Generate Millions if Passed

It follows the same framework as mobile sports betting, ensuring a legal and regulated market while generating an estimated $1 billion annually for the state

If SB9226 passes, online poker could generate as much as $2 million to $5 million annually in tax revenue. Additionally, the $10 million 10-year license fee could potentially bring in as much as $100 million if 10 operators agree to sign on.

Since its launch in January 2022, New York has rapidly ascended to become the largest market for online sports betting in the United States. By February 2024, sports enthusiasts had wagered a staggering $37 billion in the state, resulting in more than $3 billion in revenue and $1.6 billion in tax revenue.

Legislative Session Will End Soon… But

The New York State Legislature will recess on June 6th, but legislative leaders like Addabbo retain the authority to summon lawmakers for a quick session. This means they could consider the bill at any time until the session’s last day, expected to be sometime in early January 2025.

While no states have legalized online casinos this year, industry insiders in New York regard the state as one of the most likely candidates to legalize online casinos in the coming years.

DFS Bill May Also Be Considered by Lawmakers

Two additional bills may also get some attention at the May 14 meeting. They’re related to daily fantasy sports (DFS) and mobile sports betting.

On April 11, Addabbo introduced SB9044 to regulate DFS. Many states are tightening rules on this betting style.

What’s Next for SB 9226?

The New York Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee may discuss and potentially revise the bill before forwarding it to the New York State Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering for consideration.

Given Addabbo Jr.’s influence within the committee, SB 9226 stands a good chance of approval, potentially prompting further debate and a vote during this legislative session. This strategy is frequently employed to seek approval for specific issues previously embedded within broader, unsuccessful bills.

If passed, New York would become the seventh U.S. state to offer online poker, joining Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It would also become the eighth to provide online casino gaming.

Let the lobbying begin.