Gary Pretlow Introduces New York Sports Betting Bill

New York Sports Betting Bill

AO6113 would allow sports betting kiosks in Yankee Stadium, as well as Madison Square Garden.

New York State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow introduced a sports betting bill this week which includes betting kiosks at Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium. The bill is┬ánamed A06113, with its legislative description stating it “relates to regulation of sports betting and mobile sports wagering in New York”.

Gary Pretlow’s bill not only would allow digital sports betting, but also would allow New York racetracks and commercial casinos to host sportsbooks.

New York’s legislature passed a bill in 2013 which said it would legalize sports betting if the US Supreme Court ever struck down PAPSA, but no implementation bill ever was passed. Earlier this year, the New York Gaming Commission passed the state’s first Post-PASPA regulations, clearing the way for the General Assembly to legalize sports gambling in casinos.

Whether the votes exist in the General Assembly are another matter. Several times over the past few years, former New York State Sen. John Bonacic introduced online poker bills that passed the Senate. Gary Pretlow, despite his support of the iPoker bills, never was able to patch together enough support in the General Assembly.

Several factors have changed. Sports betting appears to be a more popular proposition, because it has wider support from non-gaming operators. James Dolan and Hal Steinbrenner each have a lot of cash and public presence that few casino owners do.

New York Sports Betting Bill’s Odds

That is not to say the casino industry will not be important. MGM Resorts bought the Yonkers Raceway, so Jim Murren’s lobbyists will be at work in the New York State Legislature. Genting Group owns Resorts World Catskills and Resorts World Queens (Aquaduct Raceway), so the huge multinational conglomerate has incentive to push such a bill.

Mohegan Sun, Jeff Gural, and several other developers likely would back such a bill (though Gural likes the virtual monopoly on sports betting he now has). Even Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. is considering lobbying New York politicians in the hope of one day launching a sportsbook in New York state.

Bookmakers Ready for New York Market

Along with those operators, bookmaker technology providers could be lining up to support such a bill. William Hill US, Paddy Power-Betfair, 888 Sport, FanDuel, and DraftKings all have vested interests in seeing New York legalize sports betting.

NY General Assembly’s Changes

The General Assembly is much different than it was even last year. Previously, a handful of Democrats worked with the Republican minority to control the agenda in Albany. Five key Democrats who were in the cross-aisle partnership were voted out of office, so control of the state legislature passed more firmly into the control of the Democrats.

With the Senate, the General Assembly, and the governor’s mansion solidly in the same party’s hands, the legislative process might be less complicated than it was before. Assemblyman Pretlow is more firmly behind the bill than he was previous gambing bills, so several factors appear to be aligning.

Seneca Nation Unlikely to Support

Not everyone would support the bill. As Gary Pretlow’s bill currently stands, the tribal casino operators would not be able to have sportsbooks. For the Seneca Nation and other prominent tribes to host sport betting, they would have to renegotiate their gaming compacts with the state.

The Seneca Nation was unable to negotiate tax rates with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration without appealing to an arbitrator, so neither side would want to negotiate a new gaming compact. With the tribal casinos frozen out, they will oppose sports betting legislation of any kind.

Carl A. Heastie Introduces NYC Casino Bill

In an update on New York state gambling legislation, Assembly Speaker Carl A. Heastie introduced a bill to the General Assembly which would approve 3 casino licenses for New York City. The draft legislation is still vague, but it appears to open the door for three integrated casino-resorts in the New York City metropolitan area, but probably outside Manhattan.

An alternate version of the bill would transform Yonkers Raceway (MGM Resorts) and Aquaduct (Genting/Resorts World) into full casinos instead of the VLT racinos they are. MGM Resorts and Genting Group likely will lobby for that interpretation of the law, while Las Vegas Sands, Caesars Entertainment, and a host of other casino companies will push for the three brand new casino licenses. Of course, a compromise deal might eventually happen.

The upshot is New York state is rife with proposals to expand gambling in the state this year. Since the new legislature has a much different makeup than before, it is harder to predict how votes will go. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he does not like online gambling legislation because it could hurt lottery revenues, but it is uncertain whether that applies to mobile sports betting in stadiums and arenas. It is also unknown if Cuomo would support a New York City casino bill. He was a big supporter of the upstate New York casinos, but that might mean he will defend their right to continue operations without NYC competition.