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New York has only about a week to try to pass legislation to widely legalize and regulate sports betting in the state. But those efforts came closer to reality on Monday as the sponsors of bills in the Senate and Assembly came to terms on how to proceed.
The bills from Assemblymember Gary Pretlow and Sen. John Bonacic were not the same when the former formally introduced his version of the bill last week.
They were close, but there were still some key differences that needed to be worked out if legislation was going to move forward. Those differences have been ironed out, at least publicly as the two bills are now “same as,” in legislative parlance. That means they are identical and would cut down on the number of steps need to pass them, if the proceed with no further amendments.
The effort to legalize NY sports betting would allow for wagering at the state’s gaming facilities through partnerships with four existing commercial casinos in the state. Those would include horse racing tracks, off-track betting parlors and Native American casinos. It would also allow for mobile wagering.
Existing state law allows for wagering to take place at the commercial casinos in the state, but there’s been some question of whether New York would let that move forward without provisions that allow other gaming interests to get involved.
Sports betting revenue would be subject to a tax rate of 8.5 percent.
The most interesting part is that the pro sports leagues that have been lobbying all over the country for sports betting provisions look to be close to victory. Those efforts — led by the NBA and Major League Baseball — have resulted in provisions they appear to like in New York
The bills now say that a “royalty” of a quarter of a percent of all wagers must be paid to the leagues on which wagering would occur. In the old Bonacic version of the bill, that was called an “integrity fee.” The bills also give the leagues the right to dictate where some forms of data come from and codify direct involvement for the leagues in integrity monitoring and any investigations that might come up.
The legislature is scheduled to wrap up work on June 20. Both bills face committee stops before heading to the full floors for votes, should they make it that far.
That leaves just more than a week for NY to get something done.
Despite the agreement, however, it remained uncertain whether the Assembly and Senate would take up the measure before the Legislature ends its session for the year next week.
“There’s always time,” said Pretlow, adding that he was optimistic about the bill’s chances.
But the NY legislature often waits until the last minute to get many bills passed, making the prospect of these bills passing at least possible.
Will New York become the third state to enact a sports betting law in 2018, joining West Virginia and New Jersey? We’ll find out next week.