NY still planning on push to expand legal sports betting law in state
Legal Sports Report

NY Lawmaker: MLB, NBA Stance On Sports Betting ‘A Little Disingenuous’

Leagues on sports betting

New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow tells Legal Sports Report that his long-awaited sports betting bill is coming next month.

State Sen. John Bonacic introduced a sports betting bill in March and moved it through his Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee a week later, before indicating that the legislation would be on hold until the Assembly weighs in on the issue.

That put Pretlow on the tee, and the chair of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee has been taking practice swings and measuring wind speed ever since.

“There’s not one introduced because, when I introduce legislation, I don’t just put something out to have something out there,” Pretlow said. “There will be a bill, believe me. It will be out shortly. It will be similar to Bonacic’s bill, but not exactly the same.”

The state has already authorized wagering at its commercial casinos pending a change to federal law via the US Supreme Court sports betting case, but wants to expand that to other commercial and tribal gaming facilities in the state. Pretlow declined to discuss the differences in his bill, but did say that he expects to introduce it in May.

“There’s not a huge rush to get it done because we don’t know what will happen with the Supreme Court,” Pretlow said. “This might all be for nothing, but we do want to be proactive on this.”

Integrity fee seems ‘disingenuous’

Bonacic’s legislation offered the sports leagues on which betting would occur up to .25 percent of all wagers placed as an integrity fee, a compromise on the one percent that NBA and Major League Baseball representatives asked for in a hearing held in his committee in January.

Pretlow indicated that he doesn’t understand why the leagues think they would be entitled to such a fee.

“Legal sports betting has been going on in Nevada for decades, but now they say they need to ensure the games are run clean,” Pretlow said. “I don’t buy that. They’ve been opposed to the expansion of regulated sports betting for whatever reason, and now that they see it’s inevitable they’re changing their stance to being in favor, but wanting a piece of the action. It seems a little disingenuous.”

Task force bill on hold

As people awaited the Assembly bill to authorize NY sports betting across the state’s gaming interests, instead last week came a bill from Assemblyman Clyde Vanel that would set up a legislative task force on online sports betting.

Legal Sports Report reached out to Vanel to clarify the purpose of the bill, and the Assemblyman indicated the task force is only intended to go forward if the Supreme Court either does not repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or issues a ruling narrowly tailored to New Jersey.

“If there is a ruling where New York State cannot or is severely limited with respect to sports betting, I’m going to definitely push for that task force,” Vanel said. “But we’re working as if to be prepared for a favorable ruling, so I’m not going to be pushing this bill forward and hope I don’t have to.”

Matthew Kredell
- Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with online sportsbook pioneer Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.
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