Is New York getting ready to jump on the bandwagon and bring legalized sports betting to the Empire State? The bill recently introduced by State Senator John Bonacic, a Republican from Orange County, indicates that New York, like some other states, is optimistic about the Supreme Court’s pending decision in Murphy (formerly Christie) v. NCAA.
If, as many expect, the Supreme Court rules that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional, this could pave the way for states like New York to welcome sports betting to its regulated economy, along with the healthy tax revenue that will surely accompany it.
Bonacic, who chairs the Senate Racing, Wagering and Gaming Committee, envisions the state’s share of the revenue generated by legalized sports betting to bring in between $10 to $30 million a year, a windfall he would direct towards education funding.
The bill proposes to allow four New York casinos to operate Las Vegas-style “betting books” on sports like baseball, football, and basketball. The license would also allow for mobile wagering, but bettors would have to sign up in advance at one of the four casinos. It is unclear if the opportunity would also be extended to New York’s tribal casinos.
If this bill were to become a law, the state would effectively net a new source of income in fees. The bill proposes a tax rate on gross gaming revenue of 10.5 percent, with 8.5 percent of that amount going to the state. Leagues would gain the other percentage under certain conditions, in what the bill calls an “integrity fee.”
However, there will be no forward movement on the bill while the gaming industry awaits the Supreme Court ruling, expected sometime this spring. If PASPA is indeed overturned, New York will have the foundation in place to begin moving forward on this bill in earnest. In a state which worships its mythic sports teams like the Jets, the Yankees, and the Nets, the possibilities are endless.