New York’s freshly minted $220 billion budget may pave the way for expanded mobile sports betting after all.
The approved state budget’s ELFA (Education, Labor, and Family Assistance) bill outlines plans to open bidding for three new casinos in the New York City area. Within that language is a requirement that each of the three new casinos house a mobile sports betting server.
Since all nine of New York’s current sports betting operators are linked to casinos upstate, this requirement opens the door to new mobile sportsbooks.
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What’s The Process For New York Sports Betting Expansion?
Watchful sports betting fans might recall that the finalized budget dropped a provision that would have expanded the Empire State’s mobile sports betting operators from 9 to 16.
The approved ELFA provision allows for a much more gradual increase if it makes it through the next legal hoops.
To expand mobile servers, state lawmakers will need to pass additional legislation that would allow the NYSGC to approve more mobile betting operators. That process will likely take several months, and applications for new mobile betting operators likely won’t be requested until next year.
However, Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Queens), the chair of the NYS Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, told GamingToday.com that the server provisions in the FY 2023 state budget will expedite the process in the future.
Sen Addabbo said that the server provisions in ELFA essentially 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.”
“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,” Addabbo said.
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Balancing Expansion With Tax Rates And Revenue
New York sits at the top of the US sports betting market, with a whopping $4+ billion in online sports wagers since mobile sports betting launched on Jan. 8. With a mobile sports wagering tax rate of 51%, the state has seen over $150 million in tax revenue.
State lawmakers are hesitant to tweak something that’s working so well.
However, lawmakers like Sen Addabbo anticipate that the tax rate will need to be lowered as more mobile sports betting operators join the game. At 51%, the tax rate could cool growth over time.
A high tax rate can also take a toll on consumers since operators may offer fewer promotions, free bets, or other perks.
Another option is to allow operators to deduct promotional bets from their overall revenue numbers, offering some tax relief.