Key Senator Introduces New York Sports Betting Bill

Written By Dustin Gouker on March 7, 2018 - Last Updated on January 10, 2022
NY sports betting bill 2018

A New York sports betting bill was introduced today in the state legislature, what appears to be the most serious attempt yet to legalize single-game wagering at gaming facilities around the state.

It was introduced by Sen. John Bonacic, who chairs the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee

The state previously authorized sports wagering at the state’s commercial casinos, pending a change in federal law. That could come soon if the US Supreme Court decides to strike down the federal ban — PASPA — outside of Nevada sports betting.

“New York State has historically been behind the curve in dealing with developments in the gaming world, and it has been to our detriment,” Bonacic said in a statement on Thursday. “If allowed, sports betting will be a revenue enhancer for education in New York.

“We have the chance to ensure our sports betting statute is fully developed and addresses the needs of the state and all stakeholders so we can hit the ground running if and when we can authorize and regulate sports betting.”

What’s in the NY sports betting bill?

You can see the bill — S 7900 — here. The bill appears to be very similar to a draft that Legal Sports Report obtained recently.

Here are some of the key points:

  • The bill authorizes wagering at casinos, tracks and off-track betting parlors. LSR is trying to determine if this also includes the state’s tribal casinos.
  • It features an effective tax rate of 10.5 percent on gross gaming revenue, including an integrity fee payable to leagues under certain conditions. The state would get 8.5 percent of gross revenue.
  • Leagues can dictate where data used for NY sports betting can come from.

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.

Leagues have been asking for one percent of all handle as an integrity fee or as a royalty.

What’s different from the NY draft?

There are a few changes from the draft, which appears to stay largely intact.

The bill does add language about “global risk management” that can be used by sports betting operators in the state.

“Global risk management” means the direction, management, consultation and/or instruction for purposes of managing risks associated with sports wagering conducted pursuant to this section and includes the setting and adjustment of betting lines, point spreads, or odds and whether to place layoff bets as permitted by this section;

(Layoff bets are bets that bookmakers place with other sportsbooks in order to decrease their risk on certain outcomes.)

What’s next?

We’ll be watching for a few things:

  • The possibility of an identical or similar bill in the Assembly.
  • A committee hearing for the Senate bill. An informational hearing was held on sports betting earlier this year.
  • A decision from the Supreme Court in the New Jersey sports betting case. That could be just a few weeks or months away.

But usually, the legislature waits until June in a flurry of activity to pass anything of substance. So seeing real progress on the bill might be months away.

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that wagering on NY collegiate teams is not allowed under the bill. Such wagering would be allowed.

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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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