Since the US Supreme Court ruled that a federal law prohibiting gambling on sports events is unconstitutional, states have been scrambling to pass sports betting laws. After its neighbor New Jersey successfully legalized sports betting, many expected New York to follow suit quickly. However, it has not happened.
Why no bill?
Many states anticipated the Supreme Court’s decision and had gambling bills in place as soon as possible. Delaware and New Jersey flew out of the blocks, leaving a lot of states to play catch-up.
Despite numerous bills having been submitted, the New York State Legislature closed for the summer with no sports betting bill having been introduced. The session has now been adjourned until January 2019.
While there was a law in 2013 that could allow a limited range of sports betting to take place in the state, proper adoption will not be seen for at least another year. This led to a lot of the major sporting organizations in the state not being too happy after they had been hoping to receive lucrative “integrity fees” with the introduction of sports betting.
No consensus was reached on bills that had been submitted by Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Senator John Bonacic.
There is a glimmer of hope remaining for those looking for sports betting in New York. There were indications in May that, no matter what the outcome in the legislature might be, betting rules would be introduced in the state anyway.
For example, as part of a current law, four casinos in upstate New York would be able to gain approval for starting a sports betting offering. However, there would be no provisions under this existing law for mobile wagering or racetracks. The casinos in question are the Tioga Downs, del Lago Resort & Casino, Resorts World Catskills, and Rivers Casino & Resort.
Under this law, bets would not be allowed on games involving New York colleges and college games or events being held in New York. There has been no indication as to what the plan might be for Indian casinos when it comes to sports betting in the state.
The New York State Gaming Commission’s executive director, Ron Ochym, commented: “Commission staff have long been working on regulations that would effectuate sports gambling under the existing statutory language.” He went on to say: “Staff anticipates being able to provide a draft for your review in the near term.”
Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Basketball Association (NBA) will be hurt by the failure of New York to introduce a sports betting bill. Both of the bills that had been proposed contained provisions for integrity fees.
These fees would effectively be royalties paid to sports organizations in return for sports betting operators being allowed to offer wagers on games these teams are involved in. The type of fee was altered a few times while bills were being considered.
In what would have been the last versions of the bills to be seen by the legislature, there was a provision of 0.2% of each bet being given to the respective leagues.
This would have been massive for them. New Jersey and West Virginia flatly denied integrity fees for the leagues, so New York was one of their main hopes. They might also have been able to use a New York bill containing integrity fees as leverage when negotiating with other states.