State lawmaker proposes bill for additional regulation of sports betting companies

A recently introduced bill by State Sen. Pete Harckham would require the state to oversee how companies use specific promotions to convince bettors to join their platforms.

News 12 Staff

Dec 9, 2022, 1:25 AM

Updated 531 days ago

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A state lawmaker is considering a bill to change how sports betting companies attract new customers.
A recently introduced bill by State Sen. Pete Harckham would require the state to oversee how companies use specific promotions to convince bettors to join their platforms.
Right now, many companies offer "risk-free" bets, wager-matching or boosted odds to first-time users that Harckham says are predatory.
The New York Gaming Commission's recently released numbers show online sports books took in $1.5 billion in bets last month -- a new state record.
Harrison resident Pete Castro placed a few of his own.
"It makes the games a lot more fun," he said.
Mobile sports betting in New York has exploded in popularity since it was legalized this year, but also raised concerns about potential predatory practices.
Harckham, who chairs the Senate Alcoholism and Substance Abuse committee, says the state should be taking a harm-reduction approach to gambling similar to how the state regulates other potentially addictive things like alcohol or recreational marijuana.
Harckham still supports sports betting, mainly for the revenue it brings into the state but believes tighter regulations can prevent people from getting in too deep.
"Folks who don't have full transparency and don't understand what they're getting into will very soon find themselves in financial hardship," Harckham says.
Harckham's bill would require the state Gaming Commission to oversee how companies attract bettors to their platforms.
Offers like "risk-free" bets, wager-matching or boosted odds for new users are coming into question.
"That's kind of how I got started with it because they offer like a good, 'if-this-team-wins-we'll-match-your-bet' or 'it'll-pay-out-$150-on-a -$5-bet," Castro said.
Harckham still supports legalized mobile sports betting but with some more oversight.
New York collected a new record $75 million in taxes for education last month and that's something Harckham can get behind.
Bettors like Castro, however, are concerned overregulation could negatively impact the mobile betting experience and he's not alone.
Sports betting companies have already shown some concern about the idea of more industry regulation.
As far as how likely the bill is to pass, Harckham said he has legislative support already but added nothing will happen until he can bring all the stakeholders to the table to discuss ways to improve and safeguard the betting experience sometime next year.


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