New York mobile betting passes initial committee phase

Bill S17 has passed the first committee stage in New York, meaning that the journey to legalise mobile sports betting here has officially restarted.

The legislation went through the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee with a 7-0 unanimous vote. It’ll now be passed on to the Senate Committee on Finance. 

What would the bill allow?

If the bill comes into full force, licensed operators will be able to offer online and mobile sports wagering. In-stadium sports betting would also be permitted. 

Regulated brands would be obliged to pay 8.5% of their gross gaming revenue (GGR) in tax for retail sports betting and 12% for mobile. 0.20% of the handle on all bets would go to professional sports leagues as an ‘integrity fee’. 

Race tracks, off-track betting parlours, sports stadia and arenas can also offer this vertical on their premises if they partner with a commercial casino. Meanwhile, Indian tribes will be allowed to offer mobile betting if they do the same. 

Which forms of betting are legal in New York at the moment?

Sports betting is legal in the Empire State but in a limited sense. As things stand, only four upstate casinos are permitted to offer this form of gambling. Since much of the state’s population lives in and around New York City, these are difficult to reach for many. 

New Jersey offers fully-regulated online and mobile sports betting, so it’s easier for a lot of residents to cross the Hudson River instead. And the difference it makes is clear. Compared to the $32.7 million that New Jersey made in sports betting revenue in November 2019, plus a record $562.7 million in handle, New York made $1.3 million. In December, that total dropped to $780,418. 

Will the bill come into law?

That remains to be seen. The Senate voted in favour of Bill S17 last June, but things failed to move forward after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he’d veto it. 

Sen. Joseph Addabbo made a case for the full legalisation of sports betting in New York last week, arguing that the revenue raised could help to address the state’s growing budget deficit

Along with digital betting, Addabbo also called for the expansion of land-based gambling. Three casino licences still haven’t been used here, and the state senator felt that these outlets could be placed near New York City.

Discussions for this year’s state budget begin this month, but sports betting can still make the final version even if it isn’t included in the initial draft. The budget will be finalised on April 1st. 

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