New York’s aspirations to become the next state to legalise sports betting post-PASPA have hit a major obstacle, with the majority-holding Democrats said to be concerned about the contents of two bills in both houses of the state legislature that were due to be voted on before the end of the 2018 legislative session.
With only days to go before the session closes on June 20, all bets are off that any progress will be made. According to media reports, even if the legislature was to send the bills to Governor Andrew Cuomo, there has been no indication from his officials that he will sign them off.
There is a large wish list among interested parties in the state. The professional sports leagues including the NBA and MLB are still seeking what they have described as “integrity fees”, while the racetracks and off-track betting facilities want sports betting in their venues. There is also a big appetite for online and mobile gaming.
The lobbying power is significant, but evidently not sufficiently strong to keep both bills alive. Consequently, New Yorkers could be waiting for a year at least before making a legal bet on their favourite sports.
Another indication that the path to legal gaming never runs smooth came via the news this week from neighbouring New Jersey, where the likelihood of bettors seeing advertising around Major League Baseball became non-existent, at least for the foreseeable future. A memo circulated by MLB to its member teams this week contained a warning that they, and their affiliates, are forbidden from accepting advertising deals from sports betting firms.
- SBC Americas analysis – While Delaware and New Jersey have flown out of the starting blocks to become the first jurisdictions to offer legal sports wagering post-PASPA, they ought not to be seen as a template for other states when it comes to the ease, or otherwise, of getting legislation onto the statute books. The likes of New York and Maryland appear to be in a legislative limbo and there will be others that suffer a similar fate, but that is part and parcel of legislative life when laws are enacted piecemeal on a state-by-state, rather than federal basis.