Joe Girardi to New York Lawmakers: Act Fast on Sports Betting

Posted on: May 31, 2018, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: May 31, 2018, 12:34h.

Joe Girardi has already helped bring multiple World Series banners to the state of New York. Now, the former Yankees catcher and manager is hoping he can help hasten the legalization of sports betting in the state, too.

Joe Girardi
Former Yankee Joe Girardi is pushing for sports betting regulation in New York. (Source: USA Today)

Girardi, who has three World Series rings as a catcher and manager, made an appearance before New York lawmakers this week. He was part of a parade of advocates who had a private audience with the New York Assembly, urging them to act fast on new sports betting laws.

Girardi, along with everyone else involved with Major League Baseball (MLB), is hoping significant progress can be made before the 2018 legislative session ends on June 20.

“It’s Coming”

In Girardi’s mind, there is no doubt that sports betting “is coming” to the state of New York.

“So I think it’s important for New York to be at the forefront and get something passed that protects the integrity of the game – this session,” Girardi told reporters in a brief interview after the session.

Afterwards, an MLB spokesman clarified that Girardi isn’t pushing for sports betting. However, given the high likelihood of legalization in the state, he’s hoping for regulations that will protect the game and its fans.

Another former Yankees manager, and current chief baseball officer for MLB, Joe Torre is expected to make a similar push to lawmakers sometime next week.

So far, Assembly members are giving no indication of whether all this star power is having any influence, according to The Buffalo News.

“It depends on what the members want to do,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

A Fee by Any Other Name

On Wednesday, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow tabled his version of a sports of the sports betting bill for the state. It includes a version of the so-called “integrity fee”, a controversial 1 percent cut of gambling revenues which sports leagues say they’ll put towards weeding out any suspicious betting activity.

However, while the previous bill introduced by Senator John Bonacic called that money a “sports wagering integrity fee”, the new bill features different language. Pretlow is on the record as calling the concept of of integrity fees “disingenuous”. His bill refers to the money as a “sports wagering royalty”, instead.

That royalty would be considerably less than the 1 percent requested by leagues like MLB. Instead, the bill calls for up to 0.25 percent to go to the leagues, as long as the total doesn’t exceed 2 percent of an operator’s sports betting revenue.

Pretlow also confirmed that his bill will allow bets to be accepted online, and not just at the state’s four physical casinos. However, the issue of “in-game” wagers is a big one that needs to be dealt with first. The Assemblyman said that he’d like to see a time restriction in place, suggesting five minutes as a suitable cut-off window for in-game wagers.

Will lawmakers get it done before they adjourn on June 20th? The push is on.

“Members keep telling me they want to do it,” Pretlow told The Buffalo News of the 150-member chamber. “The Speaker may not be happy, but it’s for the good of the state.