New York legislators plan to revisit the state’s ban on sports bets that include voting, such as MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards. But the timing of the conversation might disappoint some gamblers in the Empire State.
It doesn’t figure to happen by the time the NBA or NHL release their awards in the coming weeks and, according to one lawmaker, probably won’t occur until after baseball has already handed out its trophies in November. So New Yorkers hoping to wager that Max Scherzer will win his fourth Cy Young award this season will have to get that action in another state, it appears.
Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow and Senator Joe Addabbo both have stated their interest in expanding the betting menu available to New Yorkers, but Pretlow said Wednesday that he doesn’t think it will happen in the current legislative session, which concludes June 3. That means momentum toward bringing New York the same bets being offered in neighboring New Jersey won’t begin until the next session in January of 2023.
“The real problem is the calendar right now,” Pretlow told NY Online Gambling. “We basically have the entire month of May to do everything, and I really don’t think we have the time to do this unless there’s a strong will by the executive branch. There’s a lot happening now in this area and I don’t think this is going to take priority.”
Why such bets are off the board
New York initially banned awards voting out of concern for insider trading, worrying that a small group of voters could collude to alter their votes or otherwise impact the race. The Baseball Writers Association of America, for example, chooses 30 of its writers in each league to vote on awards such as the MVP and the Cy Young. In a related development, the BBWAA has been discussing the propriety of its votes being used to determine player pay and service time.
“I don’t see any way for it to be rigged, but that’s the main concern, that people would get inside information of where the vote is going and they place their bets to reflect that,” Pretlow said. “I don’t see that happening, but it’s being investigated right now.”
Asked who is conducting the investigation of how voting is conducted, Pretlow answered, “That somebody is me.”
No Oscars voting on the horizon
Pretlow said that, barring a legislative solution, the New York State Gaming Commission could act on its own to alter state betting rules. He also said that while New York’s expanded menu could largely “mirror” New Jersey’s, he doesn’t expect New York sportsbooks to take action on non-sports competition that is determined by voting, such as the Academy Awards.
“I don’t know if we’re going that far right now,” he said. “We’re interested in sports. If you look at what they bet on in England, it’s like everything, including who the next president’s going to be, and you can bet on that right now. I don’t know that we’re going to go that far, but I do want to look at it in sports.”
New York politicians’ desire to keep gamblers in-state was one of the primary motivators to launch legal mobile sports gambling on Jan. 8. The state’s mobile sportsbooks have thus far reported $342.7 million in gross gaming revenue for a state tax haul of $174.8 million, 98% of which goes toward education.
Photo: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY