New York Legislature Revises Sports Betting Bill


Mid May is seeing discussions arising about whether or not the sports betting bill in New York will make it past the finishing line before summer recess, and as legislature gets ready to adjourn in just over a month’s time, time is starting to run out.

Nevertheless, in an update released on the situation just this week, the New York State Gaming Commission confirmed that it would be submitting regulations regardless of whatever takes place in the state house. Albany’s law makers have been working on crafting a law that is more comprehensive than that passed during 2013 which only permits sports betting to take place in the 4 commercial casinos upstate. This week, Senator John Bonacic filed amendments to his bill in the Senate, potentially in a move to push the bill to be passed before the expiry of the session. However, as adjournment is scheduled for June 20th, time is of the essence.

Are New York’s Regulators Ready For Change?

The news was broken this week by the Democrat and Chronicle that the regulators were working on drafting regulations to coincide with the existing New York laws. Ron Ochrym, the acting Executive Director declared that the process had already begun before the US Supreme Court’s ruling last week. Speaking to the commission at a board meeting in Manhattan on Monday, Ochrym said on the subject of sports betting that the Commission’s staff had been working for some time that could bring sports gambling into effect under existing statutes. He also anticipated that the staff would be able to supply a draft which could be reviewed in the very near future.

Before Monday, there had been no admittance by the commission that any drafting was taking place, with the only comment being that reviews were underway into the situation. Now, the regulations may well be reviewed more rapidly than first imagined, although no definitive timeline has been released.

Nevertheless, no matter what takes place in the short term, it looks clear that further legislation will hit the books eventually. New York’s horse-racing industry and Native tribes are determined not to be omitted from the legislation, and tribal leaders have been clear about their intention to be allowed to accept sports bets.

Bonacic’s Amendments To The New York Sports Betting Bill

There are several potential ways of broadening New York sports betting, with all of them going via Senator Bonacic. As the chair of his chamber’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee he is working on getting traction for his own legislation.

Hence Bonacic filed on Monday another amendment to bill S7900. This would expand the permissions for sports betting to off-track and track betting parlors. There is a reasonable level of support for the bill, however what is unknown is whether or not there is sufficient support to facilitate movement within the next few weeks.

The amendments put forward by Bonacic would tighten the restriction on how many partnerships with mobile betting companies that any one casino is permitted to have, with a requirement for the servers to be sited in a facility which is licensed. The stipulation which requires registration in person for a remote betting account would also be removed, creating provisions to share data.

The proposed tax and fee structure has remained virtually unchanged. Although the cost of licensing remains unspecified, the rate of tax would be 8.5% – fairly reasonable. There would, however, be an integrity fee which would, for all intended purposes, be an extra tax on wagers, creating a mechanism whereby money could be recouped by the sports leagues that have been the subject of wagers. The proposal by Bonacic is that the operators agree to give up 0.25% of their handle, with a cap at 2% of their revenue.

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