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Highlights From The Rumored New York Sports Betting Bill

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Thanks to a leaked copy of a possible sports betting bill for New York State, we have an idea of what the industry could look like in the Empire State. Now, the bill is only rumored to be the official legislation. Nonetheless, the legislation does include some specifics that sheds some light on what the state has in mind.

Several states already passed laws setting up a sports betting framework should the federal ban on sports betting change. Neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania are both ready to accept bets once the law changes.

Numerous others have sports bills in the works. If New York introduces legislation, it will join the likes of Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, and Missouri.

It might be just a few weeks before the law changes. The Supreme Court heard arguments in New Jersey’s court case challenging the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in December of 2017. They should have a decision by summertime 2018. New Jersey lawmakers are feeling good about their chances in the meantime.

So what does New York want for sports betting?

Legal Sports Report obtained a copy of the bill. The draft is similar to Missouri’s version of the bill, which catered towards sports league’s requests to get a cut of the revenue.

There is a proposed .25 percent kickback to the leagues on sports betting handle. While this is a step in the right direction from the proposed one percent in some legislation, it is still a big departure from the Nevada model. In Vegas, sports books have never paid money back to the leagues.

In addition to money, the leagues also want control over the information used by sportsbooks to offer bets. They also want the ability to ask for betting information about wagerers from casinos whenever they like. More specifics on what kind of info books can take into account when offering wagers:

“Casinos shall use in all sports wagering only statistics, results, outcomes, and other data relating to a sporting event that have been obtained from the relevant sports governing body or an entity expressly authorized by the sports governing body to provide such information to casinos.”

And who exactly can offer sports betting in the Empire State?

Back in September of last year, state Sen. John Bonacic started saying sports betting could seriously help New York’s state budget. In January, the state Assembly also held a hearing about sports betting to consider the pros and cons of legalizing and regulating it.

What is not getting talked about is the tribal casinos though. Per the legislation draft floating around now, only racetracks, OTB parlors, and commercial casinos will accept sports bets.

This leaves the tribal casinos out in the cold.

New York is not the only state with potential issues regarding tribal casinos and whether or not they will be part of the sports betting economy. California tribes are already preemptively trying to get in on the action. Meanwhile, other states already experienced tribal casinos blocking legislation regarding daily fantasy sports.

New York state and the tribes are not exactly in a happy, loving relationship right now either. With the recent launch of commercial casinos upstate, tribal groups are dealing with declining revenue. Most industry experts suggest the NY casino market is oversaturated.

Throw in the fact that Seneca Nation and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are still at odds over whether or not the tribe should be paying for its casinos, and you have a relationship that is messy, to say the least.

If and when the bill hits the floor in Albany, we will get a better sense of the direction of the bill. This rough draft certainly provides some answers, but it raises many questions as well.

Jessica Welman


Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the Managing Editor for A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.