Fixed-odds horse race betting has another chance to make it in New York.
At least that’s the goal of New York Assembly Racing and Wagering Chair J. Gary Pretlow. The Mt. Vernon Democrat filed a bill on Feb. 3 to bring fixed-odds horse race betting on thoroughbred and standardbred races via mobile sports betting apps and betting kiosks.
It’s not the first time Pretlow has proposed the idea.
Pretlow and Queens Democrat Sen. Joe Addabbo filed similar legislation in 2021 that stalled in committee in 2022. Like this year’s proposal, the 2021 bill would have allowed New York’s nine sports betting operators to accept fixed-odds wagers on horse racing events through agreements with thoroughbred and standardbred tracks.
Such agreements would also allow kiosks at horse racing tracks, off-track betting facilities, auto racing tracks, sports stadiums, and the video slots facility at Aqueduct Racetrack.
It remains to be seen if the proposal will be part of New York’s 2024 one-year state budget talks in Albany this spring. Budget discussions will heat up soon in anticipation of the start of the new state fiscal year on April 1.
NY Lawmakers: Fixed-Odds Could Mean ‘Billions’ in New Revenue
Mobile sports betting has been a boon for New York since it began over a year ago. Since then, Pretlow and Addabbo have looked for ways to continue to capitalize on the nine sports betting apps that have generated more than $700 million in state revenue so far.
Adding fixed-odds horse race betting would add another revenue stream, lawmakers say.
“These changes are expected to result in billions of dollars in tax revenue for the State of New York,” according to their 2022 proposal.
The horse industry seems in line with the idea. The 2021 bill had the support of NYRA (the New York Racing Association), according to a June 3, 2022 article in Bloodhorse. NYRA VP of Communication Patrick McKenna was reported as calling fixed-odds horse race betting “a big win for New York [that] presents an enormous opportunity for horse racing to share in the benefits of mobile sports betting.”
Traditionally, wagering on horse racing is done in a pari-mutuel system, where the money wagered on a betting entry has a direct impact on the odds. In fixed-odds betting, the odds on a bet do not change after the wager is placed and is thus more attractive to most gamblers.
New Options (and Possible Changes) in the New York Mobile Market
This year’s fixed-odds horse race betting bill is now in Pretlow’s Racing and Wagering Committee. No hearing date has been set to date. But don’t be surprised if a hearing comes soon.
Pretlow wants this legislation to pass, after all. Plus, state lawmakers often like to keep their policymaking options open – especially when it comes to new revenue streams.
His colleagues in New York might want to pay attention. It’s true that the state wowed the nation with a rich mobile sports betting market that generated over $16 billion in handle in 2022 alone. But big-name operators like FanDuel and DraftKings tell the state that New York’s 51 percent tax on mobile sports betting – the highest rate in the nation – is unsustainable.
To prove his point, FanDuel President Christian Genetski told a New York legislative committee Jan. 31 that his company plans to invest half as much in New York as in other states this year to meet its budget goals.
“We are going to be profitable in 2023, and we can’t get there in New York without more return on our investment,” said Genetski.