This Might Be The NY Sports Betting Bill To Watch: Legislation Surfaces With Compromise On ‘Integrity Fee’

Written By Dustin Gouker on February 21, 2018
ny sports betting bill watch 2018

A “discussion draft” of a new sports betting bill in New York includes many of the talking points that the NBA and Major League Baseball are asking for.

Legal Sports Report obtained the draft that is floating around in the New York legislature. New York sports betting was already legalized at the state’s commercial casinos, but a new law would be needed to expand that to horse racing tracks, off-track betting facilities or beyond. This new bill would remedy that issue.

What’s new in NY sports betting?

The bill is not officially in the legislature. Lawmakers could still alter it before — or after — introduction. But in the version obtained by LSR, it seems to contain some of the things that lobbyists for NBA/MLB want.

Those two leagues have teamed on sports betting legalization if it lines up with their desires and interests.

You can see the draft bill here. Here is the leagues’ model sports betting legislation. The NY bill shares many elements with a Missouri sports betting bill was the first instance of seeing that model put into action.

Legal Sports Report understands that this legislation, when introduced, will be the most likely to advance. The law would require the federal single-game wagering ban to be struck down by the US Supreme Court in the NJ sports betting case.

What’s in the sports betting bill?

Here’s a quick look at some of the key provisions, as written.

Integrity fee?

The bill contains an integrity fee payable to the leagues on which wagering would occur. The integrity fee proposed here is .25 percent of handle (aka all wagers). The law would ensure that it would max out at two percent of gross revenue. That seems far more reasonable than the full one percent of total betting handle the leagues have been asking for.

The bill also puts strings on how leagues can use the integrity fee. All funds are placed into an “integrity fund.” How can the leagues get money for integrity?

Each sports governing body shall be eligible to receive reimbursement for expenses incurred for integrity operations including monitoring, public relations and integrity investigations, up to of one-quarter of one percent of the total amount wagered at on its sporting events. This funding shall be used exclusively for expenses incurred by the sports governing body to ensure the integrity of its sporting events, providing such integrity expenses shall be approved by the gaming commission.

Each sports governing body which receives in excess of fifty-thousand dollars annually from the integrity fee shall annually submit a report to the commission no later than the thirtieth of June of each year…

The bill goes on to detail what leagues must provide. It would be the first time such a fee in legislation would actually require their use for integrity.

If this has the support of leagues, it would mark a big departure from their early lobbying efforts. It’s not at all the “royalty fee” that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants to see his league get.

The major pro sports leagues in the US are all based in New York.

Other provisions

Much of the rest of the bill pulls on aspects of the NBA/MLB model bill:

  • Mobile wagering can take place.
  • Leagues can request restrictions on betting on their events. When such a request comes up, the gaming commission will review it with sportsbook operators.
  • Operators must share personal bettor information, IP addresses, bet amount and success if the leagues request them.
  • Operators must report to the gaming commission any breaches of leagues’ internal rules and code of conduct that the leagues provide to operators.
  • Data used for sports wagering must be approved by the leagues: “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.”
  • The state gaming commission is tasked with coming up with rules and regulations for putting the legislation into action.

What’s next in New York?

Very little gets done in New York early in the legislative session. Usually action takes place during a flurry of activity in June.

Still, this bill could be official this month or next. How well lawmakers and stakeholders receive it could determine its future.

There could also be a question of how this bill intersects with the state’s constitution, which requires an amendment to offer new forms of gambling. Efforts to legalize daily fantasy sports and NY online poker have leaned on the idea that those are games of skill. This bill amends the current racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.

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