New York State Legislator John Bonacic Introduces Bill to Regulate Sports Betting

Posted on: March 8, 2018, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: March 8, 2018, 01:20h.

New York State has joined the list of those waiting to introduce a sports betting bill, should the Supreme Court rule in a way that overturns the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

New York sports betting
State Senator John Bonacic has introduced a bill that would legalize sports betting in New York if the Supreme Court overturns PASPA. (Image: New York State Senate)

The latest piece of legislation was introduced by State Senator John Bonacic (R-Mount Hope). As the chairman of the Senate Racing and Wagering Committee, Bonacic is a key figure in state gaming regulation, putting him in an ideal position to push a sports betting measure.

Betting on Tax Revenues

Under the specifics of his proposal, casinos would be authorized to offer betting on professional and collegiate sporting events. In exchange, those casinos would turn over 8.5 percent of gross revenue to the state, which Bonacic estimates could bring anywhere from $10 million to $30 million in new revenue for New York.

Like many other bills that are under consideration across the country, the new regulations would only go into effect if PASPA is overturned. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing the case of Christie v. NCAA, with a ruling expected sometime in the next few months.

According to Bonacic, his bill will help New York keep up with other states that have more aggressively pursued the potential for sports betting.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

League Integrity Push

One of the key groups that have yet to weigh in on the New York proposal are the professional sports leagues themselves. The NBA and Major League Baseball have recently come out in favor of legalized sports betting.

However, they want the industry to develop on their terms, and their model bill would include a one percent integrity fee on all bets on their leagues.

These integrity fees have been widely panned by those in the gaming industry, who say that the charge would amount to a large percentage of a sportsbook’s profits, preventing bookmakers from offering competitive odds to gamblers.

Bonacic’s bill includes a more modest version of that integrity fee. Operators would be required to pay of a fee of .25 percent of their handle to the New York State Gaming Commission, though it would also be capped at 2 percent of gross wagering revenue.

This money would then be used to reimburse sports governing bodies for costs related to maintaining the integrity of their competitions.

The bill could also face resistance from New York’s horse racing industry, as the measure doesn’t include tracks among the operators who would be permitted to offer sports betting. Instead, bets would be restricted to the four new upstate casinos, including Resorts World Catskills, which opened last month.