On Friday, S7900, a bill to legalize sports betting in New York, underwent amendment and new printing as lawmakers continue to wrangle in the hopes of passing sports betting legislation before the session ends on June 20. The bill, sponsored by Senator John Bonacic (R-District 42) is on its third iteration.
The bill, now S7900C, now calls for an integrity fee to be paid to the professional leagues of “one fifth of one percent,” down from a quarter of one percent in previous versions of the bill. The legislation also calls for the professional sports leagues to bring proof to the state of what was spent on integrity monitoring in order to receive compensation. Previously, the fee was set to be paid with no strings attached.
The pro leagues, the NBA and Major League Baseball in particular, have been lobbying states across the nation to include a payout for increased integrity monitoring as sports betting becomes legal. But so far, no state has passed legislation with a fee, and if New York state does, it would be the first.
New York Lawmakers Are Pushing for Legal NY Sports Betting, But Can’t Reach a Consensus, and Prospects Appear Dim.
Earlier this month, legendary ex-New York Yankees manager Joe Torre became the latest in a parade of former and current athletes to visit the state capital and lobby for the integrity fee.
The new language in Bonacic’s bill appears similar to the language in an Assembly bill introduced by Gary Pretlow (D-District 89) last week.
Despite the changes, the chance for passage appears dim as there are multiple issues that still must be ironed out. Thursday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-District 83) held little hope that sports betting would be made legal before the end of the session.
“Members raised significant issues, so I would say at this point there isn’t enough support within the Democratic conference to want to go forward on sports gambling,” Heastie told the Democrat and Chronicle.
Lawmakers have reportedly been meeting all week to come to a consensus, but as yet have not.
New York Lawmakers May Be Feeling Pressure to Make NY Sports Betting Legal After Neighboring New Jersey Did So Last Week.
A second bill, S1282, which was originally introduced in January 2017, was recommitted to the Judiciary Committee on Thursday after languishing in that same committee since January of this year. The bill would allow for sports betting in New York, but would send the final decision to the voters.
Empire State lawmakers appear to be feeling pressure to legalize sports betting sooner than later after neighbor New Jersey did June 11 and accepted its first sports bet at Monmouth Park on June 14. Pennsylvania, which borders New York to the west, legalized sports betting in 2017 but has yet to begin accepting sports wagers. Further south, Delaware became the first state since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act on May 14 to offer sports betting, when it did so on June 8.