Sen. Joe Addabbo says legal counsel is investigating whether allowing NY sports betting wagers on awards would require a change in the state constitution.
Any change to the state constitution is a three-year process.
That means people in the state would not be able to place New York sports betting wagers on the likes of MVP, Cy Young or Coach of the Year until at least 2025.
“It’s currently being examined,” Addabbo told LSR. “We started to get the ball rolling. Looking at it. Seeing if it’s possible given the interpretation of our state constitution.
“We just want to make sure it doesn’t open the state up to litigation or legal challenge.”
Prohibited NY sports betting wagers
Currently, New York prohibits bettors from placing wagers on anything that requires a vote.
But by prohibiting awards futures markets, the Empire State encourages bettors to go elsewhere to make those bets.
That includes neighboring states that offer it (New Jersey and Pennsylvania,) as well as bookies and illegal offshore sites.
Expanding NY sports betting menu
Allowing bettors to wager on Aaron Judge for MVP or Brian Daboll for Coach of the Year could mean more online sports betting revenue for the state. Most states do not break out awards markets from sport-specific bets in their revenue reports, but the wagers are a constant topic of conversation within sports betting media.
It would also provide another avenue for the state to increase its market aside from attempting to increase the number of operators, while reducing the tax rate as a result.
“I want to add more opportunities to get closer to what they do in (New) Jersey,” Assemblyman Gary Pretlow told LSR. “There are too many bets you can’t make. I want to include those type of things.”
Are award futures a ‘sports wager?’
“Sports wager” is defined in the legislative language as follows:
wagering on sporting events or any portion thereof, or on the individual performance statistics of athletes participating in a sporting event, or combination of sporting events, by any system or method of wagering, including, but not limited to, in-person communication and electronic communication through internet websites accessed via a mobile device or computer, and mobile device applications; provided however that sports wagers shall include, but are not limited to, single-game bets, teaser bets, parlays, over-under bets, money line, pools, in-game wagering, in-play bets, proposition bets, and straight bets;
Addabbo said the following questions must be answered:
- What is the language and the intent?
- Does it benefit the residents of New York, and educational programs?
If constitutional change required …
A constitutional change requires passage in consecutive legislative sessions (2023 and 2024.)
Then it would go to a public vote in November 2024.
“The residents of New York have to vote for a constitutional change,” Addabbo said.
… and if no change is required
Addabbo laid out the next steps:
- Does the NYS Gaming Commission say they want to make an administrative decision and incorporate it?
- Or do the legislators have to pass a piece of legislation now as a proposal that they are incorporating these awards into online sports betting?