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New York mobile betting legislation sets $25m license fee, details RFP process


New York’s budget bill, which contains provisions for legal mobile sports betting, has been published, revealing a $25m license fee and the bidding process for potential licensees.

As previously announced by Governor Cuomo’s office when the Governor and legislature came to an agreement on a state budget, the state Gaming Commission will issue a request for proposals to select at least two platform providers to operate sports betting. These two platform providers will receive licenses and together offer at least four betting skins.

The Commission’s request for proposals will open no later than 1 July, with winning bids selected no later than 150 days after this.

The Commission will develop a scoring system to determine the best bids. While this system has not yet been created, extra points will be awarded to any operator with a revenue-sharing agreement with one of New York’s Native American tribes.

Tax rates will be determined based on the bidding process, but will be no lower than 12% and may be graduated.

Licenses to operate will be issued to the two highest-scoring bids, as long as both pay the same tax rate. The Commission may also license additional bids if they are satisfactory.

Licensees must house their servers in a New York casino, and must pay the casino where the server is held $5m per year to do so.

Platform providers must pay a licence fee of $25m and licenses will last for up to 10 years.

While each platform provider that receives a license may host multiple skins, they must limit each player to one account each, meaning a player may not have accounts with different skins under the same provider’s license.

Players must receive messages regarding responsible gambling limits and an option to close their account if their lifetime deposits total more than $2,500.

The request-for-proposal process differs from the licensing system in most other states, as well as from proposals put out by Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblymember Gary Pretlow, who together introduced a bill calling for a traditional licensing regime. However, Cuomo – who was previously an opponent of mobile sports betting altogether – pushed for a system closer to a monopoly model.