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Expansion of fantasy sports, interactive poker unlikely this year

State Sen. Joe Addabbo, D-Woodhaven, is pictured speaking to students during a Career Day presentation at a school in his Senate district.

A state lawmaker’s push to expand online fantasy sports and poker – to the tune of more than $100 million in additional revenue to the state – isn’t likely to happen this year.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo, D-Woodhaven, has proposed an expansion of interactive sports games (S.9044) and interactive online poker at 10 sites statewide (S.9226). Neither bill garnered much interest during this legislative session.

S.9044 would allow for new types of interactive fantasy sports games and create a licensing and regulatory process for them. It would be an expansion of the state’s 2016 legislation allowing interactive fantasy sports, with Addabbo saying an update is needed since 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 increased 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 place.

Along with updating the regulatory environment for these types of offerings, this bill increases consumer protections by raising the age to 21 for authorized players or contestants, putting it on a level playing field with mobile sports wagering.”

Addabbo’s bill to allow interactive poker games would authorize the state Gaming Commission to license certain

entities to offer for play to the public certain variants of internet poker that require skill, specifically, “Omaha

Hold’em” and “Texas Hold’em.” The bill would create 10 licenses, with each new license holder paying a $10 million fee for a 10-year license. The license fee would be applied as an offset against the taxes paid over the first 60 months of operation. The bill also requires poker license holders to pay 15% of their gross interactive poker revenue to the state, with the money paid into the state commercial gaming fund.

“Presently, numerous New York residents are participating in illegal, unregulated, and unsafe gaming operations which offer games of chance over the Internet,” Addabbo wrote in his legislative justification. “This bill will allow the state to license operators that meet the high standards set by the state and offer limited games of poker which require a high level of skill. … Thus, not only will this help New York regulate an industry that is presently operating without oversight in New York state, but also generate additional revenue from taxes and licenses fees associated with a licensed online poker system in New York state.”

Combined, the bills would raise millions in additional revenue. The interactive poker bill would generate $100 million in one-time revenue from licensing fees and an estimated $2 to $5 million a year. The interactive fantasy sports bill only says the state will see increased licensing fees and tax revenue, but includes no firm estimates.

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