In the ever-evolving and pioneering realm of online sports wagering, New York has emerged as a prominent participant, initiating its legalized online sports betting market over two years ago. As the market evolves and lawmakers explore new horizons, the spotlight turns to Sen. Joseph Addabbo’s recent legislative move, Senate Bill 8185 (S8185). This proposed iGaming and iLottery bill seeks to unlock a new realm of possibilities for online gambling in the state.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo’s endeavor to expand the scope of online gambling in New York took a formal shape with the introduction of S8185. Presented as a comprehensive bill that aims to authorize a broad spectrum of online gambling activities and extend the purview to online lotteries, the legislative journey commenced on January 11, 2024, as S8185 found its first abode in the New York Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee.

Last week, S8185 underwent amendments and the Committee recommitted it, further advancing the legislative narrative. The revised bill, now included with Article 15, meticulously outlines the envisioned future of New York’s iGaming sector. Notably, the amendment emphasizes the existing availability of online gambling activities in seven other U.S. states, advocating for the establishment of a robust and competitive market within the Empire State. 

S8185 extends an invitation not only to commercial operators but also welcomes tribal operators to apply for iGaming licenses. However, tribal participation is contingent upon relinquishing their “exclusive geographic right to offer and conduct interactive gaming” on tribal lands. This unique approach allows tribal operators to offer iGaming activities while facilitating consumer access to services from other licensed operators within their tribal lands.

A pivotal aspect of the recent amendment involves the relationship between iGaming and iLottery operators and union workers. S8185 mandates that online gambling operators must enter into a “labor peace agreement” with relevant labor organizations, ensuring the active engagement of gaming or hospitality industry workers represented by unions. 

Turning to the fiscal front, the proposal advocates for a 31.5% tax on online gambling operators’ gross gaming revenue. Earmarking the collected taxes actively enhances the New York lottery fund for education aid, aligning fiscal gains with educational support.

Senate Bill 8185 extends beyond mere financial gains; it embodies a strong dedication to social responsibility. The legislation designates $11 million annually to tackle the challenges of problem gambling and bolster educational initiatives. The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports will actively engage in steering this collaborative initiative.

As the legislative saga of S8185 continues, the online gambling landscape in New York stands on the precipice of transformation. The proposed amendments and inclusive measures hint at a future where iGaming thrives and both commercial and tribal operators contribute to a vibrant, competitive market.

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