New York Gambling Bills Remain In Limbo As Legislative Session Ends

Erik Gibbs

new york state capitol albany

Thursday marked the end of New York’s legislative session, and the New York state Senate website shows several gambling-related bills in limbo, with not even the Working Rules group able to help.

Senate Bill S8777, introduced by Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., aims to amend the racing, pari-mutuel wagering, and breeding law. This bill seeks to authorize season-long proposition bets and future award winners as authorized bets, setting limitations for in-game and season-long proposition bets. It reflects a growing interest in expanding the scope of legal sports betting options available to New Yorkers.

The bill currently resides with the Assembly’s Racing And Wagering Committee.

Simultaneously, Senate Bill S1557 is also under consideration. It proposes to prohibit individuals under the age of 21 from gambling. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Addabbo, is part of a broader initiative to address concerns about gambling addiction and its impact on younger demographics. Twenty-one is the current minimum age for all forms of gambling in New York, except for betting on horse races, which is 18.

The last movement on this bill, according to the New York state Senate’s website, was in March. At the time, it was waiting on its third reading in the chamber, and there haven’t been any new updates since then.

Responsible gambling takes focus

Another significant piece of legislation is Senate Bill S8439, which focuses on the allocation of tax revenue generated from mobile sports betting. The bill, if passed, would authorize 1% of mobile sports tax revenue — but not less than $6 million — to be used for problem gambling programs. This initiative highlights the state’s proactive approach to mitigating the potential negative effects of gambling by supporting addiction services.

The Senate approved the bill on June 5. It then passed it over to the Assembly, where it’s waiting to be reviewed by the Ways And Means Committee.

On the Assembly side, Bill A1118 (and its Senate partner, Senate Bill S1550) addresses the advertising of gambling and sports betting. Sponsored by Assembly Member Clyde Vanel, the bill would force gambling ads to include warnings about potential harmful effects. It also mandates that the New York State Gaming Commission will work with providers of addiction services and support to ensure that all gambling-related ads include a problem gambling hotline number.

This bill has advanced the furthest. It survived, after some tweaking, Senate and Assembly votes and now only needs Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.

Downstate casino bill tweaked

New York Senate Bill S9673, which pertains to the acceleration of downstate casino licenses, underwent a significant amendment this week. This change mandates that the New York Gaming Facility Location Board must deliver its recommendations for downstate casino operators by Dec. 31, 2025.

While the board has until the end of next year to pick casino locations, the final deadline for issuing licenses isn’t quite that strict. There’s a 30-day window for the commission to decide after getting the recommendations. This pushes the regular deadline to Jan. 30, 2026. But there’s also the possibility of two extensions, meaning licenses could be issued as late as March 31, 2026.

This bill is waiting on its third reading by the Senate and, like the others, will have to continue to wait. Only a call for a special session could help any of the bills advance, and it doesn’t appear that they warrant that much attention.

Mob-led illegal gambling ring busted

While lawmakers have been trying to shape New York’s legal gambling ecosystem, the illegal counterpart is flourishing. In a significant crackdown on organized crime, 17 individuals have been charged in New York with an 84-count indictment, marking a substantial legal action against alleged criminal activities. The indictment accuses these individuals of operating a criminal enterprise that engaged in loansharking and illegal gambling operations.

The indictment suggests that the accused are believed to be part of or associated with the Gambino family, a name synonymous with organized crime in the U.S. The charges stem from a detailed investigation that revealed a complex network of illegal activities, including a sports gambling operation that managed over $22.7 million in illegal bets and a loansharking operation that collected weekly payments on approximately $500,000 in usurious loans.

The investigation, which involved multiple law enforcement agencies, utilized advanced surveillance techniques, including wiretaps, bugs, and covert video cameras. The evidence gathered pointed to a structured hierarchy within the criminal organization, with certain individuals playing key roles in the management and execution of the illegal operations. The Bonanno, Colombo, Genovese, and Lucchese crime families are also reportedly involved.