Lawmakers look to get sports betting in New York

Lawmakers look to get sports betting in New York

New York voters just approved two amendments to the state constitution but lawmakers are already looking to next year, specifically with a proposal that could allow sports betting in casinos, OTB parlors and race tracks.

Lawmakers are also looking to potentially speed the process by exploring legal strategies for bringing sports betting to the state without going through the amendment process which would take two years.

The sports-gambling push is being driven by a pending U.S. Supreme Court case and ongoing competition for the gambling dollar.

The Supreme Court case started in New Jersey when Gov. Chris Christie in 2012 signed a bill allowing Las Vegas-style sports betting in casinos.

Professional sports franchises including the National Football League and Major League Baseball as well as the NCAA sued to halt that, however.

If New Jersey were allowed to offer sports betting at casinos, that ruling could also apply to New York’s three new non-Indian casinos: Rivers in Schenectady, del Lago in Tyre, and Tioga Downs in Nichols. Operators of tribal casinos might also interpret it as a green light to open sports betting rooms, also known as sports books.

That, however, could exacerbate the competition facing the long-established Off-Track Betting facilities, harness track racinos and race tracks.

“We know it’s there,” said Michael Wilton, executive director of the state Gaming Association which represents racinos and harness tracks.


That, agree lawmwkers, is an impetus to let racinos as well as OTB parlors offer sports books as well.

“It would certainly give us momentum to get it passed,” said Queens Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin, who is sponsoring the measure to get sports betting through a constitutional amendment. It would have to be approved in successive legislative sessions to go before voters in the fall of 2019.

Operators of the state’s three new non-Indian casinos at the same event bemoaned what they said were disappointing results in their first year of operation. The remarks came amid widespread reports about the seeming glut of casinos and other gaming venues that have opened across the nation in recent years, with many coming well before New York allowed casinos.


Currently, only Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware allow sports betting or bookmaking since they were grandfathered under the 1992 law that banned it elsewhere.



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Started working in the Casino Industry in 1985, just never managed to leave as yet. Visited 99% of all UK Casinos, seen them all,

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