ALBANY, NY (WTEN) — Just over a year ago, the state legalized mobile sports betting. On Tuesday, experts and lawmakers held a public hearing to examine mobile gambling and its impact on the budget. There are nine operators in New York that operate mobile sports betting. It generates nearly a trillion dollars in revenue and has helped boost the economy, experts say.
A substantial amount of revenue goes to education, approximately $5 million to sports programs in underserved communities, and $6 million to fund problem gambling organizations. But operators like DraftKings chief executive Jason Robins say the current rate of 51 per cent is unsustainable. “Under current tax rates, a regulated operation would be more difficult than an illegal offshore operator who pays no taxes, does not provide responsible gaming measures, and does nothing to ensure betting is offered to minors or excluded persons. Businesses are at a huge disadvantage,” he said.
Robbins said the state won’t meet its forecast at the current 51% tax rate; FanDuel President Christian Genetski echoed the sentiment. If New York lowers its tax rate to match that of Pennsylvania, the second highest in the nation, it would still be a step in the right direction, he said. “It doesn’t necessarily put the operators in a good position, we’re going to have the lowest margins of any market, but New York is a critical market for us … so when we do better, the state will do better,” he said.
Some of the concerns raised by lawmakers include discouraging students on college campuses from participating in online gambling, identity theft from seniors using online gambling, and those under the age of 21 using legitimate accounts. “Additionally, there is little ability to control when authorized account holders make their accounts available to minors,” said Robert Williams, executive director of the New York State Gaming Commission. In the case of an adult using a legitimate account, “in all cases, that account, the subject account, was shut down,” he explained.
Some say online marketplaces could hurt casinos, but it’s too early to tell. The committee will hold its next meeting on February 27. R