Virginia on Tuesday became the latest state to make an earnest move toward legalizing sports betting in 2019 when Delegate Mark Sickles (D-District 43) prefiled HB 1638 ahead of the opening of the legislative session on Jan. 9, 2019. The bill, which will be referred to committee for discussion, calls for a 15 percent tax rate on sports betting adjusted gross revenue, and a $250,000 licensing fee. There is no mention of a “royalty” or “integrity fee” to be paid to the professional sports leagues.
Lawmakers in Tennessee and Kentucky have also prefiled bills ahead of their sessions and several other states, including Michigan, Maryland and Massachusetts have publicly discussed sports betting recently.
Since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May, seven states states outside of Nevada have either legalized or seen its authorized licensees begin accepting sports bets. Although Virginia is very much not a gaming state as casinos are prohibited by law, apparently sports betting may be on the table.
Kentucky Senator Julian Carroll (D-District 7) refiled an updated version of his sports betting bill on Friday. The bill, which would create the independent Kentucky Gaming Commission, calls for a 25 percent tax on net sports betting revenue as well as allowing the Kentucky Lottery Association and existing horse racing associations to be granted licenses. Any other interested venues may also apply.
The tax rate applies to commercial sportsbooks and vendors, but not the Lottery Association’s license. And the bill would give all the regulatory power, including, it appears, determining what types of events could be bet on and whether mobile/online wagering is permitted, to the new Kentucky Gaming Commission. Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of any sort of fee or royalty benefiting professional sports leagues.
Kentucky lawmakers and stakeholders have had a busy few months studying sports betting, and it’s likely the state will be among the first to seriously consider legalizing sports betting in 2019. Carroll’s bill is likely just one of several that will be filed and considered when the state legislature goes back into session. Carroll, a former Kentucky governor, is a member of the state’s “working group” on sports betting.
Arkansas voters on Tuesday legalized sports betting on the only mid-term election ballot initiative in the country dealing with sports betting. Issue 4, a ballot measure that amends the state constitution to allow sports betting, has passed.
As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, with 99 percent of votes counted, 54.1 percent of over 860,000 voters had checked “yes” and 45.9 percent “no” to authorizing casinos in four counties that may include sports wagering among their offerings to patrons.
Arkansas became the second state in its region to legalize sports betting after Mississippi did so last summer. None of its other border states offer legal sports betting, though Oklahoma, Missouri and Louisiana all have commercial or tribal casinos. Arkansas is the seventh state outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting behind Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad).
Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” rounding up top stories in sports betting and gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading. This is meant to be brief, so that’s it.
In First-of-Its Kind Deal, NFL’s Dallas Cowboys Partners With Oklahoma Casino
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has broke new NFL ground after partnering “America’s Team” with a casino business. The Cowboys on Thursday announced a partnership with WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma, owned by the Chickasaw Nation Tribe, according to Reuters. This is the first time a casino has been granted status as an official team partner, and allowed to use a team’s logos and trademarks. The deal was made possible after NFL owners amended their bylaws to allow casinos to obtain official partnerships with NFL teams.
Sports betting continues to get a lot of attention in Kentucky. A week after the state legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue held a hearing on the topic, and less than a month after a “working group” of state lawmakers had its first meeting, Bloodhorse and Breeder’s Cup are teaming up to sponsor a symposium on sports betting at Keeneland Sales Pavilion on Thursday, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The symposium will be the most diverse of the meetings that have been held so far, and will include lobbyists from the horse world and the professional sports leagues, lawmakers, and industry representatives. Among the speakers scheduled are:
Greg Means, Alpine Group, National Throroughbred Racing Association lobbyist;
Sara Slane, American Gaming Association senior vice president of public affairs;
John Hindman, FanDuel/TVG general counsel for Fan Duel;
Bill Knaulf, Monmouth Park vice president of business operations;
Dan Spillane, NBA senior vice president for league governance and policy;
Kentucky lawmakers on Thursday got a primer on sports betting when staff members presented a detailed look at sports betting to the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue.
The presentation likely created more questions than answers, but it was a significant step for the Kentucky lawmakers who are pushing for legal sports betting. Kentucky’s state legislature is not currently in session, but interim joint committees keep the legislative process moving through the summer months. By opening the sports betting discussion on a formal level, the interim committee can help the standing committees it supports in both chambers to hit the ground running when the new legislative session begins in January. Senate Appropriations and Revenue chairman Christian McDaniel (R-District 23) requested the presentation to give committee members and overview of the sports betting issue.
The presentation lasted about a half hour and included:
An explanation of what the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was;
A primer on the and the Supreme Court case Murphy vs. NCAA;
The possibility of a federal framework;
A brief look at how Nevada manages sports betting, it’s tax structure and revenue;
A look at the “integrity fee” or royalty that the professional sports leagues have been lobbying for;
Whether or not the Kentucky constitution allows for sports betting and possible ways to make sports betting legal (i.e. is a constitutional amendment required?); and
Who would oversee sports betting in the Bluegrass State.
KY Sports Betting Working Group Has Been Laying the Groundwork for Legal KY Sports Betting.
A nine-member “working group” of Kentucky legislators has been meeting through the summer to build a consensus on sports betting. The group has met twice and has reached two key decisions: Kentucky should tax net revenue, not handle, and the group does not endorse the integrity fee that the professional leagues have been lobbying for.
It’s unlikely that the bill that the working group files will include the fee. No state that has legalized sports betting since PASPA was struck down includes a royalty, and the only state that seems to be seriously discussing such a fee is New York.
See what State Senator Julian Carroll thinks about the bill by visiting SportsHandle using the link below:
According to a study by the law firm Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, it may well be. At Wednesday’s meeting of the Kentucky sports betting working group, lawmakers will hear that the firm’s study concludes that Kentucky is “a state that is in need of supplementary funding for the budget and the pension fund – could be friendlier to a casino or sports wagering bill, especially in light of the general public approval of sports wagering.”
That’s likely just what lawmakers want to hear. Beginning earlier this summer, a nine-member working group has been meeting with the idea of coming to a consensus on sports betting ahead of the next legislative session. Former Kentucky governor Julian Carroll, now a state senator, has been spearheading the effort and pre-filed a bill in June he hopes will be the foundation for future legislation.
Kentucky’s Politics Have Changed — and the State Has a Deficit — Potentially Making It More Receptive to Legal Sports Betting.
Illinois lawmakers will hold the state’s first hearing on sports betting on Wednesday in Chicago, as the state gears up to put together sports betting legislation for the 2019 session.
Representative Bob Rita (D-District 28), who has been the Democratic point person on Illinois gaming issues for five years, arranged the hearings, which will be before both the Gaming and Sales and Other Taxes House subcommittees.
The goal of the hearings is to bring stakeholders and lawmakers together in order to craft passable legislation for the next session.
City of Chicago, Illinois Horse Tracks and Video Gaming Organizations to Speak at IL Sports Betting Hearing Wednesday.
The expected participants at Wednesday’s hearing represent government, municipalities, horse tracks, video gaming interests and others. A second hearing in October in Springfield will address sports betting, online gaming, fantasy sports.
According to a press release, the following people/groups are expected to speak at Wednesday’s hearing:
The State Legislature’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability on Senate Bill 7 as amended in the House;
Rita on his House amendment to Senate Bill 7;
City of Chicago;
Rockford, Waukegan, South Suburbs and Danville;
Horse tracks seeking slots and table games – Fairmount, Hawthorne and Arlington;
Companies seeking to legalize sweepstakes machines;
Video gaming organizations – Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association, Illinois Retail Gaming Operators Association, Illinois Licensed Beverage Association; and
Opponents to Senate Bill 7.
Rita’s SB 7 , which would create a Chicago Gaming Authority, amend the Illinois Lottery law and establish an internet gaming board, was one of several sports betting initiatives in the Illinois state legislature last session. The bill would lay the groundwork for sports betting. Other proposals included Senator Steve Stadelman’s (D-District 34) SB 2478 and Senator Napoleon Harris’ (D-District 15) SB 3432, but neither got out of committee. There has also been much back-and-forth between those lawmakers that want to push forward with sports betting and those who want to take a slower approach.
To read the rest of this article, visit SportsHandle using the link below:
Legal sports betting in New York could occur before the start of the next legislative session in January, but it wouldn’t be statewide. Why? Because an existing law allows for sports betting at four commercial casinos only, rather than all existing gaming entities, such as racetracks, tribal casinos, or off-track-betting parlors.
The 2013 measure, which passed controversially via a ballot referendum, has caused some confusion about when, where and whether New York will join its neighbor New Jersey in allowing sports betting.
The limited 2013 law has also created a situation in which the state’s gaming commission is currently moving forward with developing sports betting regulations, while on a parallel track, state lawmakers are still discussing plans to legalize statewide.
A State Constitutional Amendment Allows for NY Sports Betting Only at Commercial Casinos — Not Racetracks and Other Gaming Venues.
According to the 2013 New York Casino Gambling Amendment that altered the state constitution, only the four outlets defined as commercial casinos are eligible to offer sports betting when the gaming commission rolls out its regulations. The four upstate casinos, del Lago in Seneca County, Tioga Downs in Tioga County, Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County and Rivers in Schenectady County, are all located upstate, not in New York City.
The board, according to spokesman Brad Maione, is crafting regulations. But the process will take time. Once the regulations are written, according to state law, they must first be published in draft form and then open to public comment for up to 45 days. The next step could be public hearings, depending if the board thinks those are warranted, and then the draft regulations go back to the gaming control board for revisions, if needed, then sent to the full commission for a vote and, finally published.
Maione said the entire process takes months – and the gaming commission has not yet released the draft regulations.
When the regulations are published, Maione said sports betting will be taxed at 10 percent, the same rate as other gaming in the state, and no additional legislation is required before the casinos could offer sports betting. And the gaming commission will not need permission or blessing of the legislature or governor to give the four casinos a go-ahead.
An Alternative To a New, More Expansive Amendment.
How might something make its way onto the books in a similar fashion as the 2013 referendum? Not easily. New York is governed by a state constitution that explicitly prohibits gambling with a few specific exceptions. In order to expand on what was accomplished by the 2013 measure, lawmakers would have to create another constitutional amendment – a process that takes years and requires legislation to pass through both chambers of the legislature twice. It is just faster to draft a bill.
To that end, both state senator John Bonacic (R-District 42) and Democratic representative Gary Pretlow (D-District 89) have done just that. During the most recent legislative session that ended on June 20, Bonacic’s S 7900-C went through multiple iterations, but essentially allows all existing gaming entities, including racetracks, OTBs and existing video gaming parlors offer sports betting, and partner with sports betting operators. (In anticipation of such a law coming to fruition in the future, del Lago in July struck an agreement with DraftKings to have the DFS-turned-operator a DraftKings Sportsbook for the property.)
Pretlow and Bonacic’s bills are identical and both lawmakers have publicly said they think the state should move sooner than later on sports betting. Bonacic’s term ends at the end of the year and serving in the state senate for 20 years, he will not seek re-election.
“Senator Bonacic is hopeful that another member will pick up the torch on sports betting in January,” his chief of staff Andrew Winchell said.
That scenario is likely as Bonacic and Pretlow have rallied plenty of support. But one key sticking point has been governor Andrew Cuomo’s apparent reticence in taking up the sports betting issue. Cuomo is currently running for re-election in November.
All Four of the Major Professional Leagues Have Headquarters in New York City.
When sports betting does make its way onto the legislative docket, lawmakers will have two bills that include the royalty or “integrity fee” that the pro leagues have been lobbying for in numerous states.
Should New York pass a law that includes a payout to the pro leagues, it would be the first state to do so. With the NBA and Major League Baseball taking the lead, the four major professional leagues have requested a 1 percent cut off all wagers on each respective leagues’ contests, calling their games “intellectual property.” Bonacic’s bill would afford the leagues 1/5 of 1 percent on all wagers.
Four of the states that have rolled out or legalized sports betting since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was struck down in May, don’t have any professional teams playing in their states – Delaware, Mississippi, Rhode Island and West Virginia.
Legislators in New Jersey, home to the NHL’s Devils and the physical home to the New York Giants and New York Jets, vehemently rejected paying the leagues anything after bearing the costs and frustrations associated with Murphy v. NCAA, the Supreme Court case that rendered PASPA unconstitutional.
While New York would set a precedent by giving the leagues a royalty, it should be noted that the Empire State finds itself in a unique situation. Many states have no meaningful, ongoing relationship with the NFL, NBA, MLB or the National Hockey League. But all four have their headquarters in New York City, providing jobs and some amount of cache for the state.
The royalty or “integrity fee” fee aside, Bonacic and Pretlow are really just looking allow sports betting throughout New York, rather than at four specific locations. Of note in their bills is Pretlow’s proposed 8.5 percent tax rate on gross revenue (lower than the current 10 percent levied on other forms of gaming), making mobile/online gaming legal, and calling for the use of league-produced data in New York — the kind that gaming giant MGM recently purchased from the NBA in a private commercial agreement.
Under the 2013 law, mobile wagering may not be allowed; it’s possible that patrons could place bets on their phones at the four commercial casinos, but only the bettor is physically at the casino.
“When the Gaming Commission comes out with regulations, I really think you’re not going to see a heck of a lot of revenues from sports betting because it will force people to go to the lounge of the four casinos,” Bonacic said at a conference on Tuesday.
So, where does New York go from here? Both parties – the gaming commission and state lawmakers – will continue doing what they’re doing. Given the timing – New York’s legislature doesn’t reconvene until after the first of the year – it seems likely that regulations will be rolled out before a new law passed, giving the upstate casinos a head start vs. other gaming outlets. But those regulations may not be finalized anytime soon.
“We broadly discussed how sports wagering legislation has developed across the country and how we envision it take shape here in Kentucky,” Senator Julian M. Carroll told Sports Handle via e-mail. “My priority has been and remains to protect Kentuckians by regulating sports wagering and generating new revenue for Kentucky’s ailing pension systems.”
Kentucky badly needs additional revenue to rescue its pension systems and lawmakers have made no secret that that is the driving force behind exploring sports betting. Carroll, a former Kentucky governor, has been leading the charge and in June pre-filed a bill that he hopes will ultimately be the framework for the legalization of Kentucky sports betting.
Kentucky has Plenty of Sports Betting Ideas to Study as Three States Have Rolled Out Sports Betting in the Last Three Months and One More has Made it Legal.
There’s plenty for Bluegrass State lawmakers to consider: in the three months since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, Delaware, New Jersey and Mississippi have all rolled out sports betting, and Rhode Island has legalized it and is making preparations for launch. West Virginia legalized in March (pending SCOTUS) and after setting regulations, will see the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town take the state’s first legal wager before Sept. 1. And Pennsylvania has been working on sports betting regulations to implement its framework.
But before state lawmakers can vote on anything, they must first come to a consensus on what sports betting in Kentucky will look like. Monday’s meeting at Keeneland Racecourse was the first step in bringing varying opinions together. The working group including nine lawmakers from both chambers and both political parties:
Senator Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville)
Rep. George Brown (D-Lexington)
Senator Julian Carroll (D-Frankfort)
Senator Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville)
Rep. Kim Moser (R-Taylor Mill)
Rep. Jason Nemes (R-Louisville)
Rep. Diane St. Onge (R-Fort Wright)
Rep. Dean Schamore (D-Hardinsburg)
Rep. John Sims (D-Flemingsburg)
Of the nine, Carroll, Sims and Schamore have all filed sports betting bills, but none have gotten past committee. Carroll’s bill puts its focus on Kentucky’s horse racing industry and calls for sports betting at the state’s racetracks and OTB parlors. It allows for a 20 percent tax on handle, though, which will guarantee the kind of reaction from potential operators as in Pennsylvania, where a 36 percent tax on gross revenue has a caused a bit of a standoff with operators claiming they cannot make any money in such an environment.
Carroll told Sports Handle earlier this summer that the decision to tax handle was made because it mirrors the current Kentucky tax structure for pari-mutuel wagering.
Two Bluegrass State Sports Betting Bills Are Floating Around the State Legislature, But They Have Different Frameworks.
The house bill casts a wider net, calls for the state lottery commission to oversee sports betting and would allow for sport wagering at retail lottery outlets, as well.
Kentucky is not currently home to any full-fledged commercial casinos, but there are nine horse-racing venues, including the famed Churchill Downs, that are also “racinos,” as well as off-track betting parlors. Given that the initial proposed legislation comes at sports betting from different directions, the working group has much to discuss in the coming months.
“The working group will continue these discussions in future meetings to discuss details on the appropriate agency to administer sports wagering, the venues that may offer sports wagering, and the optimal tax rate to generate the most revenue for Kentucky,” Carroll said.
It’s likely that one of the easier issues to settle will be mobile betting and deposits, Carroll said, as the state already allows for both in pari-mutuel wagering.
The next working group meeting has been set for Aug. 22.