Amendment Brings Back Affiliates to Sports Betting Bill in New York

  • Lawmakers have brought back affiliates to sports betting bill in New York to allow online sports betting
  • Venues such as sports stadiums, arenas, racetracks and off-track betting facilities would be eligible
  • Facilities must be in a county that does not offer a racetrack or off-track betting
New York politicians have added an amendment to draft online sports betting legislation to permit affiliates to offer online wagering
New York politicians have added an amendment to draft online sports betting legislation to permit affiliates to offer online wagering

In an effort to bring online sports betting to New York, two lawmakers have amended their gambling bill. Senator Joseph Addabbo along with Assemblyman Gary Pretlow introduced the change.

A previous draft of a sports betting bill permitted so-called affiliates to offer online wagers. Addabbo and Pretlow have brought this idea back, but with certain provisos.

Who can be an affiliate?

In the draft legislation, the term affiliate describes an entity that will be allowed to offer online sports betting in the state. According to the legislation, an affiliate can be a racetrack, off-track betting facility, a professional sports stadium or an arena.

This opens up the option of online sports betting to many in the state, including such venues as Yankee Stadium. However, there is a proviso that will keep some from participating. Affiliates can only offer sports betting operations if they are not located in the county of the state where a racetrack or off-track betting facility is in operation.

Because of the stipulation, Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden could participate. However, Citi Field, the New York Mets home, would not be eligible. The venue is located in the same county as the Aqueduct Racetrack. Pegula Sports and Entertainment would also be ineligible to take part. It owns the arena where the state’s hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres, play.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment said: “This bill, as amended, would not provide the same advantages to Western New York sports fans that it would to the fans who attend professional sports events in other parts of the state. As we have said all along, we are absolutely committed to ensuring that our fans have the same in-venue experiences as all other fans across the state of New York.”

Deadline looming

The 2019 legislative session is in its final weeks, with gambling stakeholders pushing to see the state legalize sports betting. The state is ready to allow in-person betting later this year via the upstate commercial casinos. Three tribes in the upstate region will be allowed to offer in-person wagering as well at their venues.

The bill involving sports betting in the state has been changed several times in order to meet stakeholder needs. Early drafts created the option of affiliates, so that a track or off-track betting facility could partner with a casino to offer sports betting.

The next version lost the affiliate clauses and left the casinos as the only option for online sports betting. Then, a third version was introduced. This brought back an amended affiliate option that would give the Seneca Nation strong protections for its exclusivity area of gambling.

The off-track betting facilities are not happy with this. The Seneca Nation would have to be part of any sports betting deal involving off-track betting operators in their zone.

With the new version of the bill, a casino has the choice of allowing an off-track betting site to be an affiliate. The operators of off-track betting venues are going to discuss the bill changes this week.