enator Joseph Addabbo, a Queens Democrat, and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, a Westchester County Democrat, who chair their house's racing and gaming committees, have included a series of amendments to their sports betting legislation on Thursday.
Key among them is deleting the Aqueduct casino, OTBs, and others from being able to operate as "affiliates" of sports betting outlets, which would ban them from offering in-person sports wagering kiosks at their facilities or to let customers sign up on mobile sports gambling platforms.
The changes essentially clarify that the operation of mobile sports betting, under the lawmakers' plans, would be limited to the entities that run full-blown casinos in New York State, Blood Horse reports. The amended legislation also specifically states that Indian-run casino operations in the state—there are three tribes that have Las Vegas-style casinos—can participate in mobile sports gambling.
Pretlow said the two houses agreed to make the sports betting bill "cleaner" by removing provisions that would allow mobile sports betting at places like Aqueduct's casino and the OTBs or any other betting entity the original bill classified as "affiliates."
"We wanted to get over the first hurdle, that first hurdle being mobile. Once we get over that, the rest can be easier,'' Pretlow said of changes that could be made down the road to permit other entities to participate in mobile sports betting.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes a simple change in law is inadequate to permit mobile sports wagering in the state. His administration has repeatedly said over the months that a change in the constitution—a multi-year effort that would include a statewide referendum—is needed for such kinds of betting.
Asked if the amendments might take care of some of Cuomo's legal concerns, Pretlow said: "I don't know what constitutional concerns he was actually referring to. It's clear there is no difference between what we are proposing with sports betting and what we already do with advance deposit for racetracks.''
Pretlow and other mobile sports betting supporters say physically putting sports betting computer servers at New York's casinos would overcome any constitutional concerns. The Legislature in 2013 authorized four commercial casinos—which have since opened—to offer sports betting if a federal ban was ever dropped. The Cuomo administration earlier this year released proposed rules to permit in-person sports wagering at those casinos.
The amended legislation maintains the previous version's language calling for royalty payments to sports leagues. It adds language that such payments will be pegged to leagues with specific policies on the books pertaining to protections for players, referees, and others against threats, for instance, by fans.