New York’s new $220 billion state budget leaves the door open for more mobile sports betting servers – and more mobile sportsbooks – in the Empire State.
The potential for more operators comes with last week’s passage of the fiscal year 2023 state budget’s ELFA (Education, Labor, and Family Assistance) bill, which includes language requiring each of three new casinos planned downstate to house a mobile sports betting server if approved by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC). Competitive bidding of the New York City-area casinos will reportedly start sometime this year.
With all nine current New York mobile sports betting operators tied to upstate casinos under last year’s state budget, the new budget language could mean more New York mobile sportsbooks in the future.
It’s another development in the state’s FY 2023 budget process that ended Saturday with passage of New York’s latest state spending and policy plan.
Sen. Joe Addabbo Looks Into The Future
It appeared the idea of any additional New York mobile sportsbooks was dismissed by state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul last week when provisions requiring a mobile sports betting operator expansion were left out of the new budget.
But today, in an interview with Gaming Today, New York State Sen. Joe Addabbo, D-Queens, confirmed the ELFA provisions could lead to more mobile operators in the future.
State lawmakers would have to pass additional legislation allowing the NYSGC to approve more mobile operators before that could happen. That means no requests for applications for new mobile operators will likely be opened by state regulators in 2022. But the server provisions in FY 2023 state budget should help to expedite the process in future years, Addabbo said.
“We felt it was maybe a little premature to look at additional operators, tax rates, everything else (in this budget) – so let’s evaluate it sometime later on,” said the Senator.
The server provisions in ELFA basically say “in the future, these three new licensed sites will have the opportunity of possibly getting new (mobile sports betting) servers somewhere down the line.”
“It lays the groundwork,” said Addabbo.
New York is currently the top sports betting market in the country, with over $4 billion in online sports wagers since mobile sports betting launched statewide on Jan. 8.
Wallach: Tax Rates And More Factor Into Any Potential Expansion
Sports betting legal expert and Conduct Detrimental podcast co-host Daniel Wallach told Gaming Today last week all indications were a mobile operator expansion would be left out of the FY 2023 state budget. He was right.
Should the number of mobile sports betting operators be expanded in the future, Wallach said the benefit to the consumer depends on whether there’s a corresponding reduction in the state’s 51-percent tax rate on operators. That change would allow “a little bit more breathing room for operators to offer promotions, free bets, and additional perks to induce bettors.”
New York should also consider allowing operators to deduct promotional bets from gaming revenue, said Wallach. That would give mobile sports betting operators some “tax relief,” he said, ultimately translating into improved betting opportunities.
“I think any movement toward increasing the number of operators and lowering the tax rate will ultimately inure to the benefit of the customer,” he said.