Published: April 8, 2022

When will online casino gambling be legalized in NY?

New York has always enjoyed a complex relationship with gambling. In years gone by the state was home to a thriving underground casino industry that was legendary throughout the United States. Back in their heyday, underground casinos were said to be operating every night of the week while poker clubs were just as common. 

Thankfully all of that has changed and we no longer need to know passwords and secret knocks to play a game of blackjack. But what about the online casino industry? Now that mobile sports betting has been breaking records left, right and center, will we finally see some movement on the iGaming front? 

Sports betting sets the marker

After a protracted license application and approval process, NY mobile sports betting launched on January 8th of this year. Since then six sports betting operators have launched in the state with more to follow in the coming weeks. 

So far, sports betting has far exceeded even the wildest predictions and it looks like New York is going to take over from New Jersey as the industry leader. But positive outlook aside, sports betting operators will still be hoping for an iGaming launch in the near future. 

This is because casino gaming can be a much bigger earner for companies with much higher margins on table games than typical sports betting operations. 

Take the retail casino industry in Nevada for example. In November of 2021, sports gambling made up just 10% of all gambling revenue in the state at just $72 million. Meanwhile blackjack alone generated revenue of $125 million in the same month. 

Companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, the biggest sports betting operators in the USA, also operate online casinos alongside their sportsbooks. Of course, these are only available in states where online casino gaming has been legalized. 

While the lack of an online casino may not be a problem in other states, the fact that New York sportsbooks must pay 51% tax to the state is one of the main reasons that companies will likely push for legislation. 

When will New York legalize online casinos

While the door is certainly open to the possibility of legal online casinos in New York, there has been no firm timeline on when this may occur. 

Interestingly, the move from retail to online won’t take too much in the way of legal wrangling. New York could adopt a similar approach to that of New Jersey. By locating servers on casino properties, the state was able to legalize iGaming without the need for a constitutional amendment. 

Should New York follow suit then online casinos could be up and running in no time at all. This is particularly true given that the state’s current licensed mobile sports betting operators all have online casino operations in other states and could launch immediately. However, it’s worth noting that due to servers being placed in bricks and mortar casinos, any proposed iGaming bill would require mobile casino license holders to be tethered to a land-based casino. 

The potential for significant state revenues from online casino gaming is hard to ignore especially given that sports betting looks set to net the state millions of dollars each and every month. According to the NYS Gaming Commission’s monthly revenue report, in the three weeks of January that sportsbooks were live, taxes collected amounted to an eye-watering $63.1 million. 

The fact that New York has a population that is more than two times that of New Jersey is another reason for lawmakers to feel excited about iGaming. Since it first launched its online casino industry, the Garden State has netted over $700 million in taxes. With its larger population who are so evidently eager to gamble online, New York could see taxes that would dwarf those collected in New Jersey. 

For those of you who are waiting for online casino gaming to come to New York, we can’t give a definitive answer as to when it will arrive. Aside from a few comments from industry analysts, there have been no mentions of iGaming in the media and legislators have been tight lipped on the matter. One thing we will say though is that if the success of sports betting is anything to go by, it won’t be too long before lawmakers see the light and bring online casinos to New York.

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