New York Closer to Getting its Act Together

While it is true that New York state has legal gambling options, they’re quite limited and ineffective due to the politics of the state. All kinds of limitations and restrictions have been built into the legislation they’ve been able to pass. The weird part is, legal sports gambling is very popular in the state. After all, New York is a sports Mecca with every kind of sporting event and league. From the championship golf courses to the Belmont Stakes to Madison Square Garden, New York has sports bettors‘ attention, and they are getting closer to making legal sports betting much simpler in the state.

For instance, being able to place wagers at sport events once inside the sporting arenas is closer to being a reality. New York Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. has just cleaned up the language in his sports betting bill to clearly define what sports facilities would be eligible to participate ahead of planned Senate passage of the legislation later this week. This new language would allow for sports betting at all professional sports stadiums and arenas in New York with a seating capacity of more than 15,000. Although the bill is currently in the Finance Committee, many expect a full Senate vote later this week.

Amending Amendments

This idea was a late addition to the bill as it didn’t really seem viable until a similar feature showed up in the Illinois sports betting legislation, so maybe they needed more time to get the language right. Originally, Amendment B would allow stadiums and arenas to partner with New York casinos to have sports betting kiosks connected back to the casino via the internet. Sports facilities and arenas would be allowed to offer these kiosks 20 months after the effective date of the law. However, and this is what they needed to simplify, sports stadiums and arenas would have only been able to offer the sports betting kiosks if there wasn’t already an affiliated racetrack, off-track betting parlor, or video lottery terminal facility in the county. Due to this language in the bill, sites such as Citi Field, home of the Mets, and New Era Field, home of the Bills would have been excluded.

This most certainly was not the intention of the bill. Therefore, Sen. Addabbo has cleaned up the Senate amendment by straight-up deleting language that limited sport facilities to serve as affiliates only “in a county that does not have an affiliate.” His new language states simply, “any professional sports stadium or arena in that county may serve as an affiliate.”

Online Sports Betting ?

Another tough sticking point for legal sports betting in New York is on the mobile side. Of course, one of the main reasons to legalize sports betting is to capture the black market of the internet. Being able to wager from your phone is simple and if you can do it, you will. No matter the legal grey areas they operate in. New York has yet to realize this as Governor Andrew Cuomo is simply not behind the idea. Cuomo repeated last Tuesday that he does not think mobile sports wagering legalization will get done this year.

However, it is important to remember, this is going to get done. Watching all of that NYC money pour over into New Jersey must be hard to stomach, especially in a cash-strapped state such as New York. Plus, moves in major cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago to make sports betting as accessible as possible will have an effect as well.

Depends on the Assembly

The debate all stems from the constitutionality of mobile wagering, and just putting a bill on Governor Cuomo’s would be a huge step forward. Part of the problem is how wishy-washy many of the players have been on the subject. Getting the governor to take an official stance on the constitutionality of mobile wagering would be quite an accomplishment.

The Senate has been doing their part by leading the charge for mobile wagering all session, including adding language in its own budget proposal. Sen. Addabbo blamed the Assembly for failure to get sports betting into the budget although it is important to remember just how tough that is. For instance, in previous years, the New York Senate passed online poker legislation multiple times only to have it die in the Assembly. However, this time around, the Assembly is working to meet the Senate there, at the governor’s desk.

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow has been amending their very own sports betting legislation to match the Senate bill every step of the way. Of course, it remains to be seen if the Assembly is ready to move on mobile wagering but, at the very least, this is a positive step forward. The New York State government is working together to get something accomplished, and this just doesn’t happen that often.

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