When it comes to sports betting, lawmakers in New York are ready and willing to listen. The New York Senate is holding a hearing on the subject later this month.
The New York Times recently reported that as many as 18 states could legalize sports betting this year. Several states, New York included, have legal measures in place to begin offering sports betting should the Supreme Court rule in favor of New Jersey in its pending case against the legality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
While New York is ready to offer sports betting, the state still wants to think about expanding its existing laws. Currently they only allow wagering at New York commercial casinos. There is interest in Albany to expand that privilege to racetracks and/or tribal casinos as well.
Sports betting hearing scheduled for Jan. 24
The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee is holding the exploratory hearing on Jan. 24. Vocal gambling proponent Sen. Jon Bonacic chairs the committee and will oversee the hearing.
The current law allows for the newly built commercial casinos like del Lago and Rivers Schenectady to offer sports wagering should the federal law change. However, other groups like tribes and racetracks are lobbying for a piece of the very lucrative pie as well.
There is currently no specific law about sports betting in the legislature. Nonetheless, Bonacic told Legal Sports Report last year that it is an issue lawmakers are very much interested in exploring. Here is Bonacic’s prior statement:
“Racing and Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law Section 1367 is enough for New York to move forward with sports betting, should the Supreme Court throw out PASPA. However, as you pointed out in your article, other entities are seeking the opportunity to offer it as well. That will be the subject of much discussion in the next legislative session.”
The hearing is an invite-only affair where groups will offer oral testimony on the subject.
Commercial casinos could use the revenue boost
The New York casino industry is almost certainly rooting for New Jersey to win its court case. Sports betting is big business. If the state could start offering it, wagering could also be the shot in the arm these underperforming casinos need to turn things around.
The three operational NY commercial casinos all underperformed last year when it came to revenue. To make matters worse, the credit agency Moody’s recently downgraded del Lago’s credit grade to negative.
Given that yet another casino, Resorts World Catskills, is on the way, it does seem like something has to give in order for these casinos to stay afloat. Sports betting could be the answer. However, as Bonacic notes, the likelihood these casinos will be the only betting game in town is increasingly slim.