• Sports Betting in New York was approved in 2013 via voter referendum.
  • Current law only allows certain upstate and tribal casinos to host the activity.
  • The Senate held a hearing on NY SB 17, which would legalize mobile sports wagering in New York.
  • The 2019 legislative session will end on June 18.

ALBANY, N.Y. – The New York Senate held a public hearing on legal sports betting earlier this week. Representatives from the NBA, PGA Tour, NFL Players Committee, NY casinos, and FanDuel were all in attendance.

The focal point of the hearing was about New York Senate bill NY SB 17. The proposal works to legalize online sports betting in the state. NY Senator Joseph Addabbo is the sponsor of the bill and a chair of the Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee.

The hearing took place in his committee and involved deep discussions concerning the recent amendments he made to the bill.

As it stands, the only places that would be allowed to host sportsbooks are the state’s tribal casinos and four up-state commercial casinos. These establishments are required to pay a $12 million license fee and an 8.5% tax on sports betting revenue.

They would also be the only operators allowed to offer statewide mobile sports wagering apps. Each casino would be permitted “skins” so that they could partner with online sportsbook providers. The revenue generated from those apps would be taxed at a rate of 12%.

Under the proposal, sports wagering in New York would be permitted for both professional and collegiate sports teams.

What Did Those In The N.Y. Sports Betting Hearing Want To See?

Those that spoke at the hearing had different perspectives on sports betting in New York. Those differences came on whether or not to have online betting platforms and what to do with the money to come from sports bettors.

Representatives of the NBA and PGA Tour reiterated the need for an “integrity fee”. These are royalties paid to the leagues in order to use official data for live betting. The current version of the bill gives 0.20% of all wagers to the leagues in which people are betting on.

A member of the NFL players association urged that the funds generated by this fee should go to aspects such as post-retirement healthcare for the athletes in those leagues.

If that provision stays, New York will be the first state to provide any payments to sports leagues.

Speakers from William Hill, Scientific Games, FanDuel, and iDEA Growth disagreed with that measure. Instead, they urged lawmakers to eliminate that fee and to increase the number of skins each casino is allowed to have.

As for the casinos themselves, they agreed with industry operators and pushed for online sports betting in New York. They argued that online sports wagering would produce over a billion dollars a year in total gaming revenue.

However, those involved in problem gambling services argued that these revenues would hurt citizens in the state. The exposure of mobile sports betting in New York would lead to gambling addiction.

No matter what direction lawmakers take, there will inevitably be someone left out of future legislation.

What’s Next For This N.Y. Sports Betting Bill?

The 2019 legislative session ends on June 18. Those involved in the industry want to make sure they are represented before time runs out. But even if they aren’t involved now, that doesn’t mean they won’t be later.

“I’ve always said the initial phases of sports betting will look a lot different from the future versions of sports betting,” said Senator Addabbo. The changes that were made to this current proposal were made “to make the bill more palatable with the (Cuomo) administration.”

Although, there is no guarantee that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would even sign a bill. This is because the N.Y. constitution requires any expansion of gaming operations to be done through a voter referendum.

“We have constitutional concerns on this issue that we have raised for nearly a year and our position remains the same. We will review the revised bill,” said Cuomo spokesman Jason Conwall.

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