New York’s commercial casinos have not paid $17.7m worth of oversight fees to the New York Gaming Commission over the last three fiscal years. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Oversight fees accumulate
The four commercial casinos in New York owe $17.7m to the New York Gaming Commission (NYGC), the New York State Comptroller’s Office has revealed. The properties in question are Tioga Downs Casino, Resorts World Casino, Del Lago Resort & Casino, and Rivers Casino & Resort.
A follow-up report released May 5 shows that the gambling properties still owe $13m in oversight fees for the period spanning April 2017 through March 2019. The facilities have also failed to pay a total of nearly $4.7m in oversight fees between April 2019 and March 2020.
The NYGC regulates all gaming activities in New York. It has officials located at each licensed property to make sure that the operators are fully compliant. The commission has to collect the costs relating to this oversight from each gambling facility.
The Comptroller’s Office originally published a report in January 2020 outlining how the NYGC did not bill and/or collect certain fees from the four casinos.
The casinos reportedly received bills from the NYGC totaling $9.3m in November 2019 for personal service costs. They had until December 21, 2019 to issue the payments. The commission did not provide an assessment and billing of non-personal service costs of about $3.7m for the same period. It later also billed oversight costs totaling a little less than $4.7m to the casinos in November 2020.
Tribal casinos and video lottery terminal operators in New York State paid $153.7m in oversight fees
The latest Comptroller’s Office report stated that all $17.7m is still outstanding. Tribal casinos and video lottery terminal operators in New York State paid $153.7m in oversight fees for the same three-year fiscal period.
Gaming body needs to do better
In the May 5 press statement on the follow-up report, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned that the NYGC has to do better at staying on top of the state’s gaming market. He said: “The commission should collect all oversight charges that casinos are supposed to cover.”
Officials have 30 days, following the issuance of the new report, to indicate how they plan to address the unresolved issues that the review highlighted.
The January 2020 report outlined that the NYGC did not have a policy in place to deal with oversight fee disputes. It made a total of four recommendations, mainly relating to oversight fees and tribal revenue reporting. Subsequently, only two of the recommendations were partially put in place, while the other two were not implemented at all. The original report did not find any major issues regarding the NYGC’s monitoring of casinos in ensuring that gaming revenues were properly collected, accounted for, and sent to the state as needed. The only issue the Comptroller’s Office highlighted was that the NYGC was not evaluating risks regarding tribal revenue reporting.
Comptroller Di Napoli has now warned the casinos that they need to do much more to implement changes, especially on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic and as the state is looking at issuing another three commercial casino licenses.
Online sports betting to benefit casinos
Casinos in New York have been struggling as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The four commercial casinos had to stay closed for a number of months last year at the height of the pandemic. After reopening in September 2020, casinos could only operate at 25% capacity. Occupancy is now set to increase to 50% starting May 15.
One spot of good news for the casinos is the upcoming rollout of legal online sports betting in the state. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo included online sports betting in his recent annual state budget. The authorities are currently working on developing the rules and regulations for the sector.
commercial casinos in New York will receive an annual fee of $5m from sportsbook platform providers
The NYGC, which will be in charge of sports betting, recently answered some questions about the sector. It revealed that the four commercial casinos in New York will receive an annual fee of $5m from sportsbook platform providers for hosting servers. Casinos will receive this fee regardless of whether or not they end up hosting servers. Platform providers will also pay the casinos any other reasonable costs associated with server hosting.