Cuomo had previously vetoed a similar bill, saying he believed it violated the constitution.
The new gaming law is aimed at making it easier for charities to hold raffles. In some of these raffles — called 50/50s — half the money in the pool goes to go to the organization holding the raffle; the rest goes to the winner. No matter how you slice it, it’s clearly a form of gambling.
Such raffles are common around the country and especially at pro sporting events in the US and Canada. The raffles commonly hand out thousands of dollars to the winner. That person generally has to be at the event to purchase a raffle ticket and win the cash prize. Now, that won’t necessarily have to be the case in New York.
The foundation of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres apparently helped lead the charge for the new law, according to the Buffalo News. More from that news outlet:
Starting in six months, when the law takes effect, charities can advertise their raffle offerings online, and then sell tickets online to consumers using credit or debit cards. One of the bill sponsors, Senator Patrick Gallivan, an Elma Republican, said the online authorization will restrict the sales to purely locally based consumers.
It appears to be a further liberalization from a team in the NHL. The pro hockey organization now has a franchise in Las Vegas.
Here’s the law’s actual language on online sales:
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, games known as “raffles”, at the discretion of the games of chance licensee, may be purchased via the internet or mobile application with a debit or credit card, upon the account holder’s direct consent, provided, however, that the gaming commission shall promulgate any necessary rules and regulations…
Between this law and a 2016 daily fantasy sports law, the state’s gaming commission is become more familiar with forms of online gaming.
One example is geolocation. That is the process of making sure that people in jurisdictions outside of New York (or other banned locations) can’t access real-money gaming. DFS sites that operate in NY must implement such geolocation.
It’s not clear if geolocation would be employed for online raffles. But that’s a costly service that might have the bar lowered for raffles. How online raffles keep people from playing who shouldn’t be able to — either by location or age — will be worked out by NY’s commission.
Could it all set the stage for more online gambling in New York, such as poker, lottery or sports betting?
Of course, there are lots of other issues in play that make none of the above a no-brainer. Namely, other forms of gaming are more controversial than DFS and charitable raffles. And there are more logistics to properly regulating these forms of iGaming.
Still, New York is at least more comfortable with taking even a limited form of new gaming online. That should be a positive sign for further expansions.