New bill would allow for legal sports betting in NY if federal ban is lifted

Photo courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas.

Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, introduced legislation that would allow sports betting and mobile sports wagering in New York.

The new bill (S.7900) would update existing laws to allow four upstate casino resorts to conduct sports betting if and when federal law no longer prohibits it. States interested in allowing legal sports books are closely watching the case Christie vs. NCAA, which the U.S. Supreme Court heard late last year. Their decision could overturn the federal ban on sports betting nationwide.

The updates included in Bonacic’s bill would be a part of the 2013 Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act, which established four destination gaming resorts in Upstate New York to boost tourism and economic development in the area.

“New York State has historically been behind the curve in dealing with developments in the gaming world, and it has been to our detriment,” said Bonacic, chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. “If allowed, sports betting will be a revenue enhancer for education in New York. We have the chance to ensure our sports betting statute is fully developed and addresses the needs of the state and all stakeholders so we can hit the ground running if and when we can authorize and regulate sports betting.”

The bill, among other things, would prohibit sports betting on high school athletic events; require annual reports from the casinos on sports betting; impose a fee of .25 percent of handle (not to exceed 2 percent of gross sports wagering revenue) to the state for sports governing bodies to be able to seek reimbursement for integrity related costs; and collect from each casino a state tax of 8.5 percent of gross sports wagering revenues.

The fiscal implications for this legislation would be between $10 million and $30 million annually to New York State for education, based upon conservative market estimates.

This bill would take effect upon a change in federal law authorizing such activity or upon the ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction that such activity is lawful.

Currently, it is in the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. There is no Assembly version.