The first sports betting bill before the 2019 session in New York has been filed. The bill, known as S 17, includes a payout to the professional leagues, allows for mobile sports betting throughout the state, and mandates that state-licensed sportsbooks purchase “official league data” from the leagues and/or their third party partners.
S 17 was filed by Senator Joseph Addabbo (D-District 15) in December. It was immediately referred to the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, which Addabbo is the incoming chairman.
In 2018, the outgoing committee chairman, John Bonacic (R-District 42) tried to push through a sports betting bill that included a payout to the professional leagues, similar to the “integrity fee”, but the bill stalled in committee. Bonacic’s Chief of Staff Andrew Winchell said of the now-retired senator, “[he’s] hopeful that another member will pick up the torch on sports betting in January.”
Addabbo’s bill S 17 is similar to Bonacic’s S7900. It allows for sports betting at four upstate casinos, comporting with an existing 2013 state law. The New York State Gaming Commision, however, has not put in any rules and regulations for those upstate casinos.
S 17 updates the existing 2013 state law and expands it to legalize sports betting at other gaming venues in the state. According to the Albany Times-Union, as the legislature sorts through the issues, regulations could be adopted through the state budget. According to Addabbo, “I do think sports betting will be done in the budget,” he said in the story.
It seemed as if the state of New York would have to amend its state constitution in order to legalize sports betting, which it may yet still do, but bill S 17 focuses on four existing casinos and internet/mobile sports betting. The four casinos in question, del Lago in Seneca County, Tioga Downs in Tioga County, Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County and Rivers in Schenectady County, are all hours from New York City. The key to S 17 though, is internet/mobile sports betting, which will make it easier for the over 8 million people in New York City to bet on sports.
The bill would allow bettors to sign up for online sports betting “in person at a casino, or an affiliate of a casino, or through internet website accessed via a mobile device or computer or mobile device applications.”
Online wagering in the state would level the mobile sports playing field versus neighboring New Jersey, which has allowed mobile sports betting since summer 2018. Pennsylvania will soon be offering mobile/online sports betting in the first half of 2019.
Two of the four upstate casinos have already signed deals with mobile operators in advance of New York legalizing sports betting. Tioga Downs signed a deal with Paddy Power Betfair/Fan Duel Sportsbook in June 2018, and the following month the del Lago partnered up with DraftKings, which will run their brick-and-mortar and mobile sportsbooks.
If S 17 were to pass as is, it would be the first bill in the nation with a payout to professional sports leagues. Addabbo’s bill would give a fee of .20 percent of the handle. Although significantly less than the 1 percent that the professional leagues have been lobbying for, it is still a significant cut of a typical sportsbooks revenue.
The New York legislative session convenes on January 9th.