Last Monday’s Supreme Court decision lifting the 1992 federal ban on sport betting outside Nevada has sent more than two dozen states into a race to decide how or if to introduce legal, regulated sport betting. Some states are starting the car, others pressing the gas, others yielding with caution, more likely to get on the ramp in 2019.
The possibility of New York sports betting in 2018 is murky, with some lawmakers optimistic, others apparently frustrated, and Governor Andrew Cuomo casting doubt. But there was a significant development Monday, which might light a fire under the legislature’s tail to get something done: the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) is moving forward with the crafting of NY sports betting regulations that would impact only the four commercial casinos in the state.
“Commission staff have long been working on regulations that would effectuate sports gambling under the existing statutory language,” Ron Ochrym, acting executive director of the state Gaming Commission told commissioners at a Monday meeting Manhattan, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. “Staff anticipates being able to provide a draft for your review in the near term.”
NY Sports Betting Situation Is Progressing, But a Bit Complicated, With a Development This Week Spinning Things Forward.
On Tuesday, Sports Handle spoke with Brad Maione, Director of Communications of the NYSGC, and he couldn’t offer much at this time.
“We’re still reviewing the [Supreme Court] decision and its possible impact,” Maione said. “We had a commission meeting yesterday regarding regulations. Those are under development at the present time.”
In 2013, the state passed the upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act (the “Act”), which amended the state constitution and made provisions that would legalize sports betting in the event of a change in federal law, which has occurred. But the Act only goes so far: Only the four private, commercial casinos across the state could take wagers (upon the creation of regulations by the NYSGC), and not online: del Lago in Seneca County, Tioga Downs in Tioga County, Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County and Rivers in Schenectady County.
Maione could not comment on how licensure might work, whether the NYSGC had gotten feedback from state lawmakers or the casinos themselves as far as their intention to move forward if or when regulations fall into place. The practical effect is the at the state’s racetracks, OTB parlors, racinos and tribal casinos could possibly be left out if only the 2013 law were acted upon. Thus the impetus for new legislation.
Let’s Cut to Albany and the Lawmakers
Senator John Bonacic, Chairman of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering and Committee has been working on this issue. On Monday he recommitted the sports betting bill S7900 to the Finance Committee with amendments.
According to Bonacic’s Communications Director Conor Gillis, the highlights of the amendments are “mostly technical changes,” the largest being:
- It allows for mobile signup anywhere (original version required mobile signup at casinos or affiliates);
- Requires server(s) for mobile to be located on casino premises;
- Limits casinos to partnering with no more than three independent operators for mobile platforms (original version had no limit);
- Allows for Gaming Commission to enter into interstate agreements on sharing of information for integrity monitoring purposes;
- Creates a grievance mechanism for bettors who believe they were not properly paid.
Meanwhile, on the day the SCOTUS decision dropped, Governor Cuomo had this to say: “We’ll do an economic analysis and a legal analysis, but nothing’s going to happen this year [on sports betting] because there’s literally just a number of days left in the legislative session and this would be a very big issue to tackle.” The state legislature is set to adjourn on June 20.
Bonacic has done some of the math already, too. Contrast Cuomo’s view with how Bonacic has framed things:
“I know there’s enough time because we’ve been working on a bill for five months,”Bonacic said. “We’ve talked to all the professional sports teams, the casinos, everybody that has skin in the gaming when it comes to gaming. Casinos. OTBs. We took all their concerns and came up with what we think is a compromise bill that everybody can live with. So I’m not sure what the Assembly is going to do. The Assembly has always been late to the game when it comes to gaming issues. But in terms of time, we have enough time if there’s a will to do it.”
Sounds like a bit of friction there with the Assembly, which as of this writing had not introduced a bill. That bill will likely be coming from the desk of Assembly Member J. Gary Pretlow, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering and a participant in New York’s January hearing on sports betting.
Readying to welcome New Yorkers? New Jersey, Pennsylvania, nearby Delaware and possibly also Connecticut, which might have a special session to hammer out a sports betting compromise.