New York moves forward with sports gambling
There will still be resistance at the top level before any bill is converted to law
Whether or not New York will see expanded sports gambling anytime soon is the biggest bet of the year. Legislation to offer more sportsbooks in the state continues to be discussed among lawmakers, most recently by the Senate Racing and Wagering Committee yesterday, and has a lot of support. Regardless of how far it goes, however, the bill will ultimately find a brick wall with Governor Andrew Cuomo, unless someone is able to prove to him that he’s wrong.
The sponsor of the bill, and chairman of the committee that approved it yesterday, Senator Joe Addabbo, realizes that he’s fighting a difficult battle, but believes the law is on his side. He told reporters after yesterday’s vote, “This is a cement that’s nearly not yet hardened and hopefully we can mold it, and hopefully we can mold it to be more inclusionary.”
Cuomo believes, despite expert input from eight law firms, that sports gambling can only be expanded if voters approve a ballot measure to allow it. His position comes from an interpretation of the state Constitution, which has been shown to be erroneous.
There is also resistance from the New York Racing Association, which operates horseracing tracks and racinos in the state. It’s concerned that sports gambling will cut into its profits and it just might – but that’s how a free enterprise system works.
Addabbo believes that both the NYRA’s activities and sportsbooks can co-exist peacefully. He asserts, “It’s the future of our state that maybe we include horse racing in with the gaming. We need to streamline our gaming industry. This may not be phase one, it may not be tomorrow, but in the future I envision we streamline and reform the industry by including horse racing.”
If the Senator wants to see sports wagers this year, he needs to move quickly. The New York legislation will retire at the end of June.