A new regulatory model that could have a limiting effect on sports betting in the US states of New York and Ohio is under consideration.
The development occurred when senate supporters of the sports betting bill in Ohio stated that the newest draft of their bill would offer only one betting ‘skin’ for every racino or casino in the state, a reduction from the original proposal of three. The idea could also pop up in plans to introduce mobile sports betting in New York state, where there has been considerable delay in introducing this betting option, despite the long time legalization of retail sports betting.
The proposal’s main sponsor in New York, Senator Joe Addabbo, has gone on record as saying that he feels one skin per property was the best approach, given the opposition of the New York governor Andrew Cuomo to mobile betting.
The new draft may well add further delay to the process in Ohio. Senators John Eklund and Sean O’Brien’s draft appears to be an attempt to ease concerns that having multiple betting brands in the state would be a problem, as Eklund admitted:
“So, we’re proposing that we stick with one online brand per location, with the idea that if it becomes important or beneficial to the people of the state of Ohio to add more brands, that can be done with a simple switch of the statute down the road.”
But the proposals appear to widen the gap in approach between the Senate and the House, thereby reducing the prospects for getting legalization through before the end of the year.
Over in New York, there is considerable frustration on the part of sports betting operators, including Jeff Gural, who operates racetracks in both New York and New Jersey, which has a fully legalized betting sector. According to Gural, of the $300 million that was wagered online via his Meadowlands racetrack’s betting service, as much as a third came from visitors from New York.
Gural is also a fan of the single skin approach, as he has criticized the existence of smaller operators in New Jersey, some of which do little business despite having access to a state that set a remarkable record $803 million in handle during the month of October. But Gural is also convinced that mobile betting is the key, and he has expressed his frustration that so little progress had been made since he first won a New York betting license back in 2016.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of opposition to the single skin concept in New York. Member of the state House, Gary Pretlow, who has been campaigning for the introduction of mobile sports betting in the state, has said that more than one skin should be on the table. He has expressed concerns that casinos pressing for only one skin are attempting to be their own bookmaker.
And there remains a possibility that multiple skins may yet prevail in New York. Despite his publicly stated preference for one skin, Addabbo has said that he was not opposed to the idea of multiple skins if that was the best way for the bill to be passed.
It could also be the case that the number of skins turns out to be overshadowed by other issues. The evidence from Tennessee, which has no license capping but only four operators, is that other regulatory requirements – in this case, an annual hold requirement of 10% – could be decisive.
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