New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo Legislation Would Allow Tracks and Stadiums Offer Sports Bets

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Sports wagering in New York is getting ready to expand, thanks to the pending mobile applications launch. However, state Senator Joseph Addabbo (D) is already looking to take another step and get the racetracks included.

On Friday, the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering chairman filed Senate Bill S7536 for the upcoming session in January. It would allow the registered and harness racing tracks to serve as hosts for one of the recently approved mobile sports wagering operators.

The New York State Gaming Commission, earlier this month, issued permits to eight sports wagering platform providers. Those providers will allow operators to launch their applications statewide.

“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,”

Addabbo told Casino.org in an interview Thursday.

“It would be just a natural marriage. It would just be a rational thought, once again, to combine those two.”

Apart from the tracks, Addabbo’s legislation would also allow off-track betting parlors and professional stadiums and arenas to serve as partners. In addition, the bill says the video lottery terminal (VLT) operator at Aqueduct Racecourse in Queens could host kiosks.

The unspecified operator is Resorts World, which the legislation acknowledges will run mobile betting in the state. For now, the bill does not offer Empire City Casino in Yonkers a similar opportunity.

MGM Resorts International, which runs the Empire City Casino, is not offered the same opportunity in the legislation even though it runs at Yonkers Raceway, a major harness racing venue. MGM’s BetMGM will also serve as a sports gambling operator.

Hun-and-spoke in New York

Besides BetMGM and Resorts World, other operators approved by the Gaming Commission include DraftKings, FanDuel, Rush Street Interactive, Wynn Interactive, Bally BET, PointsBet, and Caesars Sportsbook.

Under state law, the operators must work through platform providers that have servers hosted at an updated casino resort.

Addabbo’s proposed approach appears to replicate the “hub-and-spoke” idea the Seminole Tribe of Florida is implementing with pari-mutuel operators in The Sunshine State. Although the plan is being challenged in a federal court, Seminole Gaming’s CEO and the Hard Rock International chairman said many more are interested in joining.

California Tribal gaming representatives are also considering a hub-and-spoke concept to mobile sports wagering as part of a measure they are proposing to put on the 2022 general election ballot. However, the spokes in their model would be tribes that do not want to run an application of their own.

More gaming bills proposed

The horse racing legislation is the recent gaming-related initiative to come out of Albany. Last week, Assemblymember Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, unveiled he and Addabbo have filed legislation that calls on the state to give two of the three downstate casino licenses the coming year. Instead of waiting until 2023, according to the constitutional amendment, New York residents passed in 2013.

The Gaming Commission has requested information entreaty and will accept submissions for the informal, non-binding request until December 10.

Pretlow announced at a Wednesday rally held by The Bronx and Westchester County business, labor, and civil leaders. All wanted to see the Empire City Casino in Yonkers receive a full casino permit. He appealed Governor Kathy Hochul to back the measure at the rally, noting that her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, was an obstacle.

On Friday, a spokesperson from Hochul told casino.org that the governor would review all bills that reached her desk.