Gov. Andrew Cuomo resolves concerns over rebates

Nov 18, 2013 6:06 PM

While Nevada regulators, casino operators and politicians debate the need for rebates that would be offered to horse race bettors, New York has resolved its rebate issues with a bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law.

The rebate law will become effective next May. Before then, however, Governor Cuomo expects lawmakers to approve bills that would adjust “some technical problems” he felt would make the rebate process “difficult to administer.” Cuomo didn’t specify exactly what technical problems he anticipated.

“On the basis of these adjustments,” Cuomo said, “I am singing this bill.”

Reportedly, the law will establish a single set of rules that will govern all rebate participants. Approval will be required from the New York Gaming Commission.

The programs will be for one-year terms with the possibility of renewals.

Sponsors of the legislation, like supporters of a rebate program in Nevada, say such promotions help retain the loyalty of major players.

“Offshore betting houses have the freedom to establish long-term betting rebate programs to secure and retain a loyal customer base,” stated a legislative memo in support of the bill.

“Under New York law, New York producers are not clearly allowed to establish entire race season or annual betting rebate programs to help them secure and retain a loyal customer base. This bill merely authorizes New York racetrack operators and OTBs to offer their patrons the same types of rebate programs that are being offered elsewhere,” said the statement.

The rebate issue, favored by Nevada lawmakers at the most recent legislative session, has been opposed by the Las Vegas Pari-Mutuel Association for nearly two decades. Following the most recent discussion before state gaming regulators, no action was taken.

It’s expected the issue will again be brought up at the next legislative session in Carson City.

Providing rebates or promotional discounts to gamblers has been an ongoing practice in Nevada casinos for years, but the practice has been prohibited for horse race bettors. 

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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