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Maybe it’s not too late for sports betting in New York, after all?
In an update this week, the NY State Gaming Commission says it’s poised to submit regulations regardless of what happens in the statehouse. Lawmakers in Albany have been trying to craft a more comprehensive law than the one they passed in 2013, which allows sports betting at the four upstate commercial casinos.
Also today, Sen. John Bonacic filed an amendment to his Senate bill, possibly an attempt to nudge NY sports betting forward before the session expires. NY lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn on June 20, so time is fighting against them.
The Democrat & Chronicle broke the news that regulators are working to draft regulations that coincide with existing NY law. According to acting Executive Director Ron Ochrym, the process began prior to last week’s ruling from the US Supreme Court.
Ochrym spoke to the commission during a board meeting held Monday in Manhattan. You can watch the meeting here, where sports betting came up briefly:
“Commission staff have long been working on regulations that would effectuate sports gambling under the existing statutory language,” he said. “Staff anticipates being able to provide a draft for your review in the near term.”
Prior to Monday, the commission had flatly maintained that the situation was “under review.” Now it appears their regulations might be under review in short order. State gaming officials were not immediately available for comment on a possible timeline.
Regardless of what happens in the short term, more legislation will likely hit the books at some point. Both the state’s Native American tribes and horse racing industry don’t want to be left out of the law.
More from the D&C:
Native American casinos — including those in western New York operated by the Senecas — will also be allowed to take sports bets, their tribes contend.
The Seneca and Oneida tribes did not immediately return requests for comment from Legal Sports Report.
The commission, though, appears ready to move forward with regulations while lawmakers sort out the sidecar issues.
There are a couple possible paths to broader NY sports betting, and all of them go through Sen. Bonacic. He chairs his chamber’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, and he’s trying to get some traction underneath his own piece of legislation.
On Monday, Bonacic filed an amendment to his bill (S 7900), which would expand sports betting permissions to tracks and off-track betting parlors. The bill does have a fair amount of support, but it’s not clear if there’s enough to get it moving in the next couple weeks.
Bonacic’s amendment tightens the restrictions on the number of mobile betting partnerships (or “skins”) a casino can have, and requires servers to be located inside a licensed facility. It also removes a stipulation requiring in-person registration for remote betting accounts and creates interstate provisions for data sharing.
The proposed structure for fees and taxes remained mostly unchanged. Licensing costs are still unspecified, but revenue would be taxed at a reasonable rate of 8.5 percent. The included integrity fee creates what amounts to an additional tax on the total wagers, though, with a mechanism where the money can be recouped by sports leagues on which wagering occurs. Bonacic proposes that operators give up an additional 0.25 percent of their handle, capped at two percent of revenue.
Assemblyman Gary Pretlow has also announced his intentions to expedite a sports betting bill through his chamber. Both Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, recently advised a cautious approach.