Bill To Raise Minimum VLT Gaming Age To 21 Advances In New York Senate

New York lawmakers are looking to increase the age limit for residents to play video lottery terminals.

The New York Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee moved along three bills during its March meeting. Of the bills, one included language that would see the legal gambling age for video lottery terminals (VLT) moved from 18 to 21.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a Democrat out of Queens, was the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 1557.

The bill was part of a trio introduced in an attempt to address the issue of problem gambling in New York, while also promoting responsible gaming.

Along with the proposed age change, bills were also presented last week that increase problem gambling funding, as well as mandate warning labels on certain gambling advertisements.

New York bill would increase video lottery terminal minimum age to 21

Currently, New York residents who are 18 years of age are allowed to utilize state VLTs housed at the state’s racetracks and off-track betting facilities, such as Aqueduct Racetrack and Batavia Downs

Should this new bill become law, it would raise that to 21.

S1557 states:

“No corporation, association or person that holds a license, registration, franchise, certificate or permit issued by the commission shall permit any person who is actually or apparently under twenty-one year of age to bet on gaming activity.”

On top of that, it later says as a new addition to the law:

“That no person who is actually and apparently under twenty-one years of age shall be permitted to participate in video lottery gaming.”

There are 10 different VLT gaming venues located throughout New York. They were first authorized in 2001. By law, New York video lottery terminals are required to offer a 92% minimum payout percentage.

Addabbo has pushed for raised age limits before

This isn’t the first time Addabbo has made an effort to move the gambling age limit up. Back in 2012, Addabbo started a similar campaign to raise the legal gambling age limit from 18 to 21 at state VLT facilities.

That was prior to Gov. Andrew Cuomo initiating the legislative process toward legalizing full casino gaming in New York.

His most recent bill was first introduced on Jan. 12, 2023. It took nearly a year to get updated and then 14 months to have a vote take place.

In a Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee vote on March 12, the bill received five “yeas” and just two “nays.”

During that meeting, the bill’s text raised some concerns for Sen. Pamela Helling (R-Canandaigua). She questioned whether bingo games organized by volunteer fire departments in her district would be subject to this new law. Addabbo assured her that would not be the case.

The bill still needs to pass the full Senate before it will be moved to the Assembly. From there, it is referred to a committee for discussion. If approved, it goes to full Assembly membership for a vote.

New York Lottery has produced over $34 billion for education

The New York Lottery was first started in 1967. It serves as the state-operated lottery system, part of the New York State Gaming Commission.

Tax revenue from the lottery contributes funds toward public education.

The New York Lottery, which regulates VLTs in the state, is the largest and most profitable in North America. In Fiscal Year 2022-23, it contributed $3.7 billion to education programs. Over its lifetime, it has generated over $34 billion in aid in this area.


Photo by PlayiLottery

About the Author

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis

Lead Writer
A member of Catena Media since 2020, Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer at PlayiLottery, where he handles coverage of the online and retail lottery industry in the US. He previously spearheaded news content at PlayMichigan, where he covered one of the most prominent online lottery industries in the US — among the many other aspects of Michigan's sprawling iGaming market. You can email him at [email protected].
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