Published: January 26, 2020

NY Gambling Commission Delayed Collecting Tax Due to Legal Process

An audit has revealed that the NY State Gambling Commission may have failed to collect tax that helps pay to maintain the regulatory network as well as the school fund.

New York State Commission May Have Burdened Tax Payers Involuntarily

New York may not have reaped the full rewards of sports betting, after an audit has revealed that the State Gaming Commission has fumbled the billing process that has delayed a collection of $13 million in tax fees.

Over the past three years, gambling operators have paid a collective amount of $145 million to offset the fact that NY needs to have a state regulator at each casino. However, not everyone has been paying, as the four state casinos have been involuntary omitted in the tax collection, burdening tax payers, experts have said.

The failure to bill gambling operators included the four upstate casinos, all of which opened doors in February 2017:

  • Del Lago, Finger Lakes
  • Rivers, Schenectady
  • Tioga Downs, Southern Tier
  • Resorts World Catskills, Sullivan County

According to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the State Commission has overlooked the fact that casinos ought to pay the taxes, but the Commission has responded that that money was going to be collected – and wasn’t lost – and the delay was occasioned because of the lack of a legal framework at the time.

However, with the process completed as of October 2019, the NY Gaming Commission is now in the process of collecting the taxes from the four properties. Commenting on the issue, Brad Maione, the Commission’s spokesperson, said that the regulator has followed the existing law by waiting for the framework to be finalized.

The bills had, in fact, already been issued as of December 30, Mr. Maione said and he assured that moving forward, all bills would be issued in a timely manner as to avoid any doubt about whether all gambling operators are meeting their end of the bargain. Some of the delay in tax collection has been explained by harder times for casino operators.

Why the Billing Confusion with New York’s Casinos?

According to observers who have questioned the methods of the Gambling Commission, the watchdog has missed on potentially scooping up payments in a timely manner and also supposedly failed to collect interests. All that money, opponents suggested, would have been forwarded to help the school aid fund.

The audit that was conducted to assess the proper collection of tax from the gambling sector was first cited in The Buffalo news and read as such:

Failure to collect all gaming revenues due to the State decreases the amount available for additional school aid and real property tax relief and prevents interest that could have been earned or saved on accurately calculated revenues and promptly received payments.

Casinos haven’t been immediately available for comment, but Tioga Downs has responded to the Democrat and Chronicle, arguing that the situation was monitored by the casino and for its part, Tioga Downs was working on a quick resolution with the help of the regulator.

DiNapoli has also urged the Commission to update its dispute resolution guidelines so as to slash red tape and establish clear guiding principles.

He also mentioned a few occasions where casinos have either failed to meet their tax responsibilities in full or have stopped issuing payments back, claiming that their agreements had expired. New York has also been trying to tax tribal and non-tribal operators in the state according to the same tax guidelines.

The Commission has acknowledged certain omissions in how things have been run so far, but it reassured that measures are already in place to make sure all contentious points are resolved quickly and in favor of the state as per existing regulation.

© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.