N.Y. restaurants press for on-site gambling

The industry wants the state to make eating and drinking places eligible for gambling licenses. Officials cite the $1.4 million a D.C. sports bar collected from on-site betting in less than four months.
Restaurants would be able to add gaming kiosks. / Photo: Shutterstock

New York’s restaurants want a share of the jackpot their state is collecting from on-site gambling.

The New York State Restaurant Association has asked state lawmakers to consider granting licenses for on-premise betting to eating and drinking places.

“We understand sports betting terminals and kiosks might not have a place in every restaurant and expanding available licenses may not be a silver bullet for the industry,” association CEO Melissa Fleischut said in a prepared statement. “However, for those where this is a fit, the additional revenue from on-premises sports betting could mean the difference between closing and survival.”

The association noted that a sports bar in Washington, D.C., reported collecting $1.4 million from on-site betting between the September start of the NFL season and late December.

That sort of cash infusion would help New York restaurants recover more quickly from the impact of the pandemic, association officials told legislators.

They spoke to the lawmakers as hearings began in the Senate on the impact of legalized gaming within the state. The prohibition against gambling online and in licensed casinos was lifted about a year ago.

Betting via mobile apps alone generated more than $900 million in tax revenues and licensing fees for the state during year one, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul revealed earlier this month.

New York was reputed to be one of the states most impacted by the economic downturn of the pandemic. It has more restaurants than any state except California, Texas and Florida.

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