New York May Try To Pass Sports Betting Law To Challenge Federal Ban

Written By Dustin Gouker on August 12, 2016

New York may try to pass a sports betting law in 2017, a direct affront to a federal law that bans such wagering in the vast majority of states.

The possibility of NY acting comes after New Jersey lost its latest appeal as it tries to legalize sports betting within its borders.

What NY might do on sports betting

The news of New York trying to pass sports betting legislation came via GamblingCompliance (paywall).

In an interview with New York Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow, GC learned that he was interested in crafting a sports betting bill.

GC reported that Pretlow was “looking at challenging the feds.”

New York is already poised to offer sports betting should Congress ever repeal PASPA — the federal law that bans the activity in most states other than Nevada and a handful of others.

What would NY have to do to create a PASPA challenge?

In order to create a challenge like New Jersey has in recent years, New York would have to do a partial repeal of its spots betting laws.

That’s what New Jersey has attempted, unsuccessfully, as the professional sports leagues, the NCAA and the Department of Justice have challenged the state’s actions.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the NJ appeal this week by a 9-3 margin in an “en banc” rehearing. That ruling is binding within the circuit — which includes Pennsylvania and Delaware, as well.

But that decision is not binding in New York; it only serves as precedent in the Second Circuit, which oversees NY.

The plan goes like this: New York does an NJ-style partial repeal, allowing sports betting, likely at NY casinos and racetracks. The state is sued by the leagues and the DOJ, like it was in New Jersey.

The new variable: New York would hope the Second Circuit, when the case gets there, is more amenable to the PASPA challenge than the Third Circuit was.

Can NY win where NJ didn’t?

How likely is New York to win a PASPA challenge?

Some legal experts believe that PASPA is ripe for challenge, especially in a state like New York, which has also enacted a law legalizing daily fantasy sports.

The argument could be made that the leagues — the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and MLB — are selectively enforcing PASPA. The leagues are not suing to stop DFS laws from taking effect.

However, given the Third Circuit ruling, there’s not a lot of reason to be optimistic about an NY challenge, should it happen.

Of course, there’s a lot of ground to cover before such a challenge even develops. New York would have to introduce a bill and enact a law — no easy task in and of itself.

And the state would have to do all that, knowing it’s in for a lengthy legal battle like New Jersey is going through.

Is the NY government really ready for that? We may find out next year.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin is the editor of in addition to serving as an editor and author at numerous author online gambling and sports betting-focused publications. A longtime poker player, Dustin lives in Oregon.

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