A New Sports Betting Bill Has Arrived In New York–Here’s A Look Inside

Posted on January 15, 2019

New York already has its first pre-filed sports betting bill just two weeks into the new year.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo, the new chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, introduced Senate Bill 17 with the purpose of updating the law to allow the state’s four commercial casinos to conduct sports betting.

Addabbo, a Democrat, takes over duties left behind by former chairman John Bonacic who retired last year.

New York has 61 session days, which officially kicked off Jan. 14 and conclude on June 19.

A dive inside the bill

SB 17 has a similar bone structure to S7900, which was introduced by Bonacic during the 2018 legislative session. Bonacic’s bill, however, failed to pass on the Assembly floor before session’s end.

The bill allows for both mobile and land-based New York sports betting, and permits the gaming commission to enter into “agreements” with other states to share information for “integrity monitoring purposes.”

A significant component is the inclusion of a 0.2 percent “royalty fee” to professional sports leagues along with an 8.5 percent tax on gross sports wagering revenue.

Language in the bill also requires customers to sign up for their mobile accounts in person, which could prove difficult for any residents in the southern part of the state.

One highly debated topic in statehouses across the country is the use of “official league data.” The New York bill is no different.

According to the bill:

“Provides the ability for sports governing bodies to require the use of official league data for certain wagers on sports events.”

It clarifies that the provisions regulating sports betting do not include daily fantasy sports.

Path to New York sports betting legalization

States around the country will have their eyes fixated on sports betting and the Empire State. With major changes coming to NY state politics, sports betting might — yet again — be difficult to pass.

Currently, New York is the only state with a bill that requires the use of official data and a royalty fee. Of the seven states that legalized sports betting in 2018, none required either provision. These two requirements may provide substantial roadblocks as many gaming stakeholders have vocally opposed such provisions.

The new chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee is Sen. Liz Krueger. Krueger has opposed any form of gambling expansion in the state. She will pose a serious threat to any and all sports betting legislation.

Should a bill move through the Senate without any complications, eyes will then shift to Assemblyman Gary Pretlow. Pretlow is the chairman of the Racing and Wagering Committee in the House; however, he has failed to get a sports betting bill passed through the Assembly. Going into 2019, he remains confident in his ability to do so.

Other forms of gaming

Addabbo also introduced legislation that would legalize and regulate online poker in the state.

Senate Bill 18 would legalize online poker as a game of skill, bypassing the constitutional amendment that would otherwise be required to expand gambling in New York.

New York has flirted with online poker for several years but has failed in every attempt to get a bill over the finish line. This new bill has many of the same similarities.

  • Tax rate of 15 percent on gross gaming revenue.
  • Issuing no more than 11 licenses.
  • Each license will cost $10 million, which will go toward the first 60 months of the licenses’ tax obligation.
  • Commercial and tribal operators will be permitted to conduct online poker.
  • There will be no limit to the number of skins.
  • Players must be 21 years old and located within the state.
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five-year stint in Chicago, where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.

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