New York Executive Budget Deals Setback to Online Casino Legalization Efforts

The recent release of New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s executive budget for 2025 has clouded the prospects for the state’s legalization of internet casinos. Similar to the previous year’s budget, the removal of possible tax income from the growth of online casinos deals a serious blow, especially to Senator Joseph Addabbo’s Senate Bill S8185.

Senator Addabbo has been pushing Governor Hochul to endorse the law, although it is unclear how feasible the idea is if there is no money from internet casinos included in the budget. The executive budget extends current parimutuel tax rates and simulcast modifications through Fiscal Year 2025, with a primary focus on gaming components related to horse racing.

The policies pertaining to horse racing are included in Governor Hochul’s budget, which sheds light on her ambitions in the gaming industry. Interestingly, the budget gives some off-track betting establishments leeway over how much they spend on capital funds. But Addabbo’s measure, which would have allowed fixed-odds racing in addition to parimutuel betting at tracks, was left out, which begs concerns about the bill’s future viability.

The assessment of possible applicants for the three downstate casino licenses is one of the governor’s current gaming-related duties. In addition, talks to renew the agreement between the state and the Seneca Nation are now underway. The current compact has been temporarily extended until March 31.

The future of online gaming in New York is questionable due to the removal of measures pertaining to online casinos, especially as the deadline for the final budget agreement, March 31, draws near. After the state’s successful sports betting program, proponents have stressed the potential income benefits of internet gambling; yet, the lack of consideration for this type of gaming points to a difficult way ahead.

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The proposed tax rate on gross gaming revenue from online gaming is 31.5%, which is lower than the tax rate of 51% on sports betting. However, given the size of New York’s population, the exclusion raises concerns about the state’s strategy for participating in the lucrative online casino industry.

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