New York's sports betting market is poised to grow with the imminent launch of mobile apps. State Senator Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens) is looking to go one step further and get the racetracks involved.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering submitted Senate Bill S7536 on Friday for the January session. This bill would allow harness and thoroughbred racing tracks to host one of the newly approved mobile sports betting operators.
The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) granted licenses to eight providers of sports betting platforms earlier this month. Nine operators will be able to launch their apps in New York thanks to these licenses.
Addabbo told Casino.org in an interview Thursday, "It's ridiculous that our New Yorkers can't place a bet on mobile sports betting, and at the same time place a bet at the fifth race in Saratoga or what have you. It would be just a natural marriage. It would just be a rational thought, once again, to combine those two."
Addabbo's bill would allow off-track betting parlors, professional sports arenas, and stadiums to act as affiliates in addition to the tracks. Aqueduct Racecourse in Queens, which is also a video lottery terminal (VLT), could host kiosks.
Resorts World is the unnamed operator, and the bill recognizes that it will be operating mobile betting in the state. For now, the bill does not offer Empire City Casino in Yonkers an opportunity to do so.
MGM Resorts International, the operator of the Empire City Casino is not allowed the same chance in the bill despite it operating at Yonkers Raceway (a major venue for harness racing). MGM's BetMGM will also be a sports betting operator.
Other than Resorts World and BetMGM, the Gaming Commission has approved other operators as well, including FanDuel and DraftKings. Rush Street Interactive, Caesars Sportsbook and Wynn Interactive are also approved.
State law requires that operators work with platform providers who have servers located at a casino resort in the upstate.
Addabbo's concept seems to mirror the "hub and spoke" model that the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been using with pari-mutuel operators throughout The Sunshine State. Seminole Gaming announced the five first pari-mutuel partners, despite the fact that the plan is currently being challenged in federal court. Jim Allen, Seminole Gaming CEO and chairman of Hard Rock International, stated that there are many other interested parties.
California Tribal Gaming leaders also propose a hub and spoke approach to mobile betting in a proposal they intend to place on the 2022 general elections ballot. However, the spokes of their model would be tribes who do not wish to create their own app.
Horse racing is pari-mutuel betting, while sports betting has fixed odds. This means that the odds of the event may change before it begins. The 10-1 shot you placed on horse racing during the post parade could be worth only 5-1, depending on how many people betted on the horse.
Some have suggested that horse racing offers a fixed-odds product. It would be a great way to attract new fans to the sport, which is what racing so desperately needs. Horsemen, whose livelihoods are dependent on the takeout from pari-mutuel, have expressed concern that the fixed-odds product with lower takeout would derail traditional betting pools.
New Jersey passed earlier this year a law that established the legal framework for fixed-odds betting. State officials approved the regulations earlier this month. It's not yet clear when the first races are going to be available for bettors.
Assemblymember Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) announced this week that he and Addabbo had filed bills calling on the state for two of the three downstate casinos licenses to be issued in the upcoming year. This is instead of waiting until 2023 as per the constitutional amendment New York voters approved last year.
The Gaming Commission is inviting information solicitations. Submissions will be accepted until December 10, but they are non-binding and informal.
Pretlow announced the news at Wednesday's rally, which was held by Westchester County and The Bronx business, labor and civil leaders. All are keen to see the Empire City Casino in Yonkers get a full license. He called for Governor Kathy Hochul was asked to support the measure by noting that her predecessor, ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo, was an obstacle. She has promised to review all bills.
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