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Pretlow pushing for big changes to New York sports betting laws

New York sports betting hearing

Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, co-chair of the State Racing and Wagering Commission, revealed in a recent interview the series of changes he intends to make to New York’s sports betting laws.

By next year, according to Pretlow, residents might be able to speak with a customer service representative for sports betting over the phone, they will have access to more than nine sportsbooks, and they will receive more of the remunerative bonuses and promotions that were prevalent in January and February but have ceased to exist.

“I’m looking into a component of the law requiring interaction by voice,” Pretlow said.

The encouraging news is that an enormous amount of revenue has been brought into the state, allowing New York to overtake New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania to become the most lucrative jurisdiction in the United States in terms of sports gambling revenue. However, a tax rate of 51% is applied to those revenues in their entirety.

“If a sportsbook, let’s say Caesars for instance, gave you a $3,000 bonus on top of the $3,000 you deposited, then Caesars has to pay a 51 percent tax on the full $6,000,” Pretlow explained.

“The way the law is written, it does not differentiate between bonus funds and actual funds. Everything extra they gave you goes to the state, and they lose more than 3K.”

Many of the nine sportsbooks that are now operating in New York have incurred significant losses as a result of this, which may indicate that the market is not as appealing as markets in other states.

“You don’t see many commercials or offers right now because it’s difficult to make money when you give out the incentives that they gave out. The incentives have dried up, and that is one of the driving forces in the industry,” Pretlow said.

“A few of the books lost several hundred million dollars because they were giving away crazy money.”

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It is Pretlow’s opinion that the problem can be solved by opening up the New York market to additional gambling companies and lowering the state’s tax rate to between 37 and 38 percent. This would still place New York among the states with the highest tax rates in the country, but it would give bookmakers more room to make a profit, increase the number of employees they can take on, and possibly pave the way for retail sportsbooks in locations other than casinos.

“We’re assessing the situation, and I am hopeful for a tax decrease,” Pretlow said.

“I want to see the best odds available to New York customers, and that would result from more competition.”

The existing law prohibits the opening of retail sports betting facilities outside of licensed casinos. As a result, New Yorkers gamble on their smartphones and computers, but there are no gambling shops in the state’s interior where sports enthusiasts may watch games on large-screen televisions in a social setting.

Andrew Cuomo, a former governor of New York, was instrumental in the passage of that law. At the time, Cuomo was of the opinion that gambling on sports violated the constitution. In the end, he came around and supported what Pretlow characterized as a faulty piece of legislation that made it more challenging for people living in New York to participate in gambling activities than it could otherwise have been.

Making changes to the law will not be a simple process. Any changes to the constitution need to be ratified by a majority of the state legislature (76 out of 150 members in the State Assembly and 32 out of 63 members in the State Senate), and a veto from the governor can only be overridden by a vote of two-thirds of the members in both houses.

Although Pretlow’s proposed reforms are uncertain at the moment, there is a chance that his outline plans will be implemented in 2023.

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