Expansion of fantasy sports and interactive poker unlikely this year | News, Sports, Jobs

State Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Woodhaven) speaks to students during a career information day presentation at a school in his Senate district.

A state legislature's push to expand online fantasy sports and poker – which would generate more than $100 million in additional revenue for the state – is unlikely to be implemented this year.

Senator Joseph Addabbo, Democrat of Woodhaven, has proposed expanding interactive sports gaming (S.9044) and interactive online poker at 10 locations across the state (S.9226). Neither bill received much interest during this legislative session.

S.9044 would allow new types of interactive fantasy sports games and create a licensing and regulation process for them. It would be an extension of the 2016 state legislation that allows interactive fantasy sports. Addabbo says an update is needed because nearly a decade has passed.

“Since then, the market has evolved to include new types of offerings, and demand for these types of games has grown rapidly,” Addabbo wrote in his legislative justification. “To keep up with the pace of the market and consumer demand, New York State needs a robust licensing and regulatory structure to ensure these games have the appropriate oversight and consumer protections. In addition to updating the regulatory environment for these types of offerings, this bill increases consumer protections by raising the age for authorized players or participants to 21, creating a level playing field with mobile sports betting.”

Addabbo's bill to authorize interactive poker games would authorize the state gaming commission to license certain companies to offer the public certain variants of Internet poker that require skill, particularly “Omaha

Hold'em” and “Texas Hold'em.” The bill calls for the creation of 10 licenses, with each new licensee paying a fee of $10 million for a 10-year license. The license fee would be credited toward offsetting taxes paid during the first 60 months of operation. The bill also requires poker licensees to pay 15% of their gross interactive poker revenue to the state, with the money going into the state's commercial gaming fund.

“Currently, numerous New York residents participate in illegal, unregulated and unsafe gambling operations that offer gambling over the Internet,” Addabbo wrote in his bill justification. “This bill will allow the state to license operators that meet the state's high standards and offer limited poker games that require a high level of skill. … Thus, this will not only help New York regulate an industry that currently operates without oversight in New York State, but will also generate additional revenue from taxes and licensing fees associated with a licensed online poker system in New York State.”

Together, the bills would generate millions of dollars in additional revenue. The interactive poker bill would generate $100 million in one-time revenue from licensing fees and an estimated $2 million to $5 million annually. The interactive fantasy sports bill simply states that the state should expect higher licensing fees and tax revenue, but does not provide specific estimates.

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