Gandolfo, Garbarino Call for Legalization of Football Box Pools at Bars & Restaurants

Assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo (R,C-Sayville) and Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-02) have signed a letter addressed to Gov. Kathy Hochul calling for the legalization of football box pools in bars and restaurants as the NFL enters its playoff season and the Super Bowl is on the horizon. In the letter, they argue that football box pools help these small businesses attract customers during slower winter months and that the practice was essentially permitted for many years through a lack of enforcement by the State Liquor Authority (SLA). Gandolfo and Garbarino conclude by asking Gov. Hochul to support the formal legalization of football box pools in bars and restaurants, while also directing the SLA to return to a policy of non-enforcement.

“After New York State legalized sports betting, bar and restaurant owners were warned by the SLA that they could no longer offer football boxes in their establishments,” Gandolfo said. “Through two years, we have seen sports betting bring in nearly $2 billion in revenue to the state. Football boxes in your local pub are not a threat to this revenue stream. Bars and restaurants should once again be allowed to offer football boxes to continue a long-standing tradition among fans,” he added.

“Bars and restaurants have been using box pools to draw in customers for years, and it’s been largely unenforced,” Garbarino said. “So many of these businesses barely survived the COVID pandemic, and now the state has taken away a proven method of attracting customers during the slow winter months. It’s a fun, harmless practice that should return—and hopefully before the Superbowl,” he added.

Gandolfo introduced a constitutional amendment that would allow the Legislature to authorize such pool selling without profit (A.6890), and he has also introduced complementing legislation to permit bars and restaurants to manage box pools (A.6880), both of which are measures local business advocates have told the assemblyman and congressman would be immensely helpful.