New York joined the growing list of states that could offer sports betting in the near future as Republican senator John Bonacic introduced a bill to the state Senate this week. Bonacic’s proposal, S7900, would legalize sports betting both online and in brick and mortar casinos while establishing an 8.5% tax rate on gross betting revenue.
Along with its four commercial casinos, the state’s racetracks and off-track parlors would also be allowed to offer sports betting. The New York State Gaming Commission would be in charge of regulating facilities and manage licensing for facilities which will require specific separate sports betting licenses on top of regular gambling licenses.
While the bill caters partially to the known desires of professional sports leagues (specifically MLB and the NBA) in its offering of a fee paid to the leagues to help combat illegal activity such as game fixing and point shaving, it proposes a .25 percent levy rather than the substantially higher one percent tax MLB and the NBA requested in the Model Sports Wagering Act.
The fee is capped at two percent of a casino’s sports wagering gross revenue and would be collected every three months. New York would also give in all of the other demands from the leagues proposed in the Act. An exception would be with what the bill calls Tier 3 bets which would include parlays, teasers and second-half or first-half wagers.
For these, it would be requested that sports betting operators be allowed to use their own data rather than have the source of data provided by the sports leagues as outlined in the Act. New York will also give the leagues the right to:
"notify the commission that it desires to restrict, limit, or exclude wagering on its sporting events by providing notice in the form and manner as the commission may require."
S7900 also contains one distinct difference from an earlier sports betting draft in that it will dictate “global risk management” language to be used by facilities:
"Global risk management means the direction, management, consultation and/or instruction for purposes of managing risks associated with sports wagering conducted pursuant to this section and includes the setting and adjustment of betting lines, point spreads, or odds and whether to place layoff bets as permitted by this section."
Bonacic believes New York is capable of making the leagues happy while creating a fairer deal for the state and a better chance to profit than it would if it fully submitted to the Model Sports Wagering Act proposed by the leagues.
“I’m optimistic that we’ve done a decent job with appeasing everybody,” Bonacic told GamblingCompliance. “When you try and balance the interest of casinos, racinos, off-track betting sites (OTBs) and professional sports teams it becomes quite challenging.”
Bonacic’s intentions are to have New York ready if the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey in the Christie v NCAA case in which PASPA, the 1992 federal ban on sports betting, may be either declared unconstitutional or in violation of New Jersey’s state rights. He estimates that the bill would result in a legalized betting industry that could generate between $10 and $30 million in taxes for the state every year.
The bill comes at an opportune time as Resort World Catskills just opened their brand new 5,000-square-foot, 19-table poker room. The Poker room, which additionally features 13 55’ flat-screen HDTV’s will draw enough new customers to the casino as it is.
But coupled with the prospect of legal sports betting, the casino industry is getting loads of positive press this week in the Empire State. Ryan Eller, President and CEO of Resorts World Catskills said in a press release:
“We are committed to providing our guests with the region’s most extensive, exciting luxury experiences and our new poker room is best in its class and a perfect example of this commitment. We are confident that this poker room, paired with our property’s vast array of other offerings and amenities, will solidify Resorts World Catskills as the region’s premier casino resort destination.”