NY legislature set to adjourn in a week, so time is short for sports betting
Legal Sports Report

New York Sports Betting Bill ‘On Life Support’ In Legislature

New York sports betting problems at state legislature

A new New York sports betting law might have to wait another year, as bills in both houses of the state legislature face an uphill climb.

A source familiar with the legislative situation told Legal Sports Report the bills are “on life support” with the legislative session scheduled to end June 20. Identical measures are under consideration in the Assembly and Senate, but neither appears headed toward the governor’s desk.

Even if the legislature did send something to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he has given no indication he will sign a bill.

New York sports betting scene in Albany

Pro sports leagues, including the NBA and MLB, want integrity fees, or royalties, as they have tried to rename them recently. Racetracks and off-track betting facilities want sports betting in their buildings, and nearly everyone wants online/mobile wagering. Stakeholders in the state do not want to lag behind New Jersey and Delaware, which both opened sports betting this month.

While everyone wants something in New York, but as the lobbying grows, the likelihood of passage sinks. A spokesperson for Assembly Democrats told The Buffalo News on Thursday that sports betting will not advance at the moment:

“Significant issues were raised by our members and it doesn’t appear that there is enough support within the Democratic conference to move forward with the bill at this time,” said Michael Whyland, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Issues beyond the Assembly as well

Democrats also appear to be holding up the NY sports betting bill on the Senate side, according to The News. Cuomo said earlier this month that he felt too little time remained in the session to finish sports betting. He has not publicly embraced the bills to this point.

His administration in theory could issue regulations based on 2013 legislation allowing sports betting at four in-state casinos, but does not appear inclined to do without a new law.

What’s in the bills

New York sports betting revenue would be subject to an 8.5 percent tax. That would place New York on the lower end of state tax rates. New Jersey will tax casino-based sports wagers at 8 percent and online bets at 13. West Virginia passed a ten percent tax. Delaware’s model works differently, as the state grabs a 50 percent share of revenue after a 12.5 percent fee to partner Scientific Games comes off the top of revenue.

Wagering would be allowed at the state’s gaming facilities through partnerships with four existing commercial casinos in the state. Those include horse racing tracks, OTB shops and Native American casinos. It would also allow for mobile betting.

Leagues appear closest to getting their prized integrity fees in New York as well. The bills include a “royalty” of a quarter of a percent of all wagers that must be paid to the leagues on which betting occurs. They also allow the leagues to dictate where some data comes from, and to codify direct involvement for the leagues in integrity monitoring and any investigations that might arise.

The bills — S7900 and A11144 — originally featured some differences but are now identical

Adam Candee
- Adam Candee covers sports business and news from Las Vegas. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun and KLAS-TV.