Senate Committee Advances Bills To Raise Age Limit For DFS, Expand Sports Betting Markets

Written By Grant Lucas on May 14, 2024
Image of the New York Senate chambers for a story on a Senate committee advancing several bills to further shape the sports betting and daily fantasy sports industries.

The New York legislative session may end in less than a month, but that hasn’t slowed Sen. Joseph Addabbo and the rest of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering committee from advancing bill proposals to help continue to shape the legal gambling industry in the Empire State.

The committee met on Tuesday to discuss a variety of bills, with several advancing to the Finance committee that are worth noting.

From expanding the New York sports betting menu of offerings to further defining daily fantasy sports to expanded distribution of tax revenue from NY sports betting, these bills will now go under the microscope of the Finance committee before advancing further.

Proposal alows for NY sportsbooks to take bets on awards

One proposal, S8777 in particular would authorize sportsbooks in New York to offer markets relating to seasonlong awards, although they will remain limited to awards that are “performance-based.”

Most awards – such as MVP and Cy Young – are given out panels or writers vote on the most deserving recipient. Those will remain prohibited. However, with this bill, several betting markets could become available in New York, including:

  • NBA Hustle Awards: determined by “hustle stats,” which track things like diving for loose balls, taking charges, deflections, contesting shots, etc.
  • NFL Deacon Jones Awards: given to the league’s sack leader
  • NHL Art Ross Trophy: given to the league points leader
  • NHL William M. Jennings Trophy: awarded to the goaltender of the team that allowed the fewest goals
  • NHL Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy: awarded to the league’s leading goal-scorer

On top of this, the bill would also authorize NY sportsbooks to accept wagers on coin tosses. Obviously that mostly (if not only) affects one of the more popular Super Bowl prop bets but currently remains off-limits in New York.

Daily fantasy sports addressed by raising age limit

Another bill from Addabbo effectively addresses a loophole of sorts as it relates to daily fantasy sports in New York.

The proposal, S9044, essentially sets the age to participate in DFS, which has been active in New York since 2016, at 21 years old. This would put fantasy sports in line with the NY sports betting industry. This is worth noting as many lawmakers, not just in New York but also elsewhere in the country, have considered DFS as gambling as opposed to a game of skill.

Since fantasy sports went live in the Empire State, many have raised concerns about a rising number of users 20 years and younger participating in DFS.

While Sen. Pamela Helming, a member of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering committee, raised concerns that “we are making it harder and harder for VLTs to compete,” Addabbo assured that “fantasy sports is a different product.”

One prominent fantasy site voiced their support for this bill, as reported by the Times Union.

Stacie Stern, senior vice president of government affairs for Underdog Fantasy, called the bill “thoughtful and detailed and will bring clear definitions and rules of the road to operators and regulators.”

Similarly, PrizePicks, which earlier this year was fined $15 million for operating without a license, also supported the legislation, which calls for a $5 million licensing fee.

Final bills expands use of tax revenue from sports betting

Also of note, S9236 advanced to the Finance committee. The bill would amend state law to call for 1% of NY sports betting tax revenue to go toward problem gambling, 1% to youth sports and education funding and another 1% for youth team sports funding.

The bill also mandates the allocation of $6 million each fiscal year for problem gambling education and treatment.

Expounding more on the youth sports aspect, the proposal allocates 1% of online sports betting revenue to go toward a general fund maintained by the Office of Children and Family Services used for “statewide youth sports activities and education gran programs for the first year.”

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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