Bills to Permit Sports Wagers at NYC Arenas Being Discussed

Legislation is on the New York Assembly floor that would allow betting at sporting venues like Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and The Barclays Center. Assembly Bill A06113 was amended on June 6, 2019 to allow a sports stadium or arena in a county without a horse track or casino to offer sports betting. The bill is sponsored by Gary Pretlow, the chairman of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee.

The amendment would revise Bill S 17, which dealt with mobile sports gambling, to now include in-person wagering at professional sports stadiums and arenas located in counties that do not have traditional gambling venues. That bill was sponsored by Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., chairman of the Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering. The amendments come days after Illinois passed legislation that would permit stadiums to offer sports gambling.

The amendment would reestablish the idea of an “affiliate” previously defined to include horse tracks and off-track betting (OTB) locations to include sports venues. Currently, there are only four upstate casinos allowing sports wagers; the bill would expand sports betting throughout New York State.

The affiliate facilities would essentially serve as satellite locations for the upstate casinos and would house self-service mobile betting kiosks that would be “owned and operated by the casino,” and connected via the internet to the casino’s server. This would ensure that the bets are deemed placed “at” the casino for purposes of satisfying New York’s Constitution.

However, venues like Citi Field, the Nassau Coliseum, and New Era Field would not qualify as affiliates.

New York would join Illinois and the District of Columbia as just the third U.S. market to permit professional sports facilities to have on-site sports betting.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association struck down a federal ban on sports betting, New York has yet to legalize it statewide. The bill still faces an uphill battle as the New York legislation session comes to an end on June 19, 2019 and the bill still needs to be approved by other committees before a vote can occur. However, as we have previously reported, New York is moving closer to legalizing statewide sports betting.

If the bill is passed, it would take at least 20 months before qualifying venues begin taking bets. The amendment provides that in-stadium betting may not occur until at least 20 months after the effective date of the law.

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