Sports betting legislation, after having been adjusted by its sponsors, will now permit the native tribes in New York State to offer online sports gambling to anyone within the state. The bill would allow people to bet on college and professional sports using their mobile device or computer and that bet would be placed through an online wagering program run by the Seneca Nation. This is just the latest twist and turn in New York’s legislative sports betting soap opera.
The Cuomo administration’s plans for sports betting in the state so far requires bettors to actually be within a brick-and-mortar sports betting establishment before being able to place a bet. Until now, the state’s plan was to allow four commercial casinos to offer sports gambling exclusively on-site. Because of the existing gaming compacts between the tribes and the state, the three indigenous tribes in New York with casinos would also be allowed to offer this type of in-person sports betting.
This possibility leaves the Seneca Nation a bit underwhelmed, so this new plan would likely be better received. Additionally, this new plan would widen the tribe’s marketplace by making it available to consumers all over the state. As for the tribe itself, they released the following statement about the ongoing legal process:
“The Seneca Nation is monitoring this effort and is optimistic that Senator Addabbo has taken the time and made the effort to reach out to the Native nations in New York for our input on a bill that has the potential to impact our existing gaming operations.”
The amendments to the legislation came before a hearing on Wednesday in Albany that featured different stakeholders. Senator Joseph Addabbo, a Democrat from Queens, held the hearing. An invitation to Governor Cuomo was declined due to a scheduling issue.
Sports gambling might be happening in New York in time for the start of the NFL season, but as of right now, bettors will have to attend one of the four casinos to do so. The reasons why this is possible is because of a 2013 bill that allowed new commercial casinos to offer sports gambling if the federal ban on sports betting was lifted. That occurred last May when the Supreme Court overturned PASPA and opened it up to individual states to legalize and regulate the activity.
The new wording within the amendment limits online sports betting to the four new commercial casinos as well as any Indian tribes who have casino compacts with New York. These are the St. Regis Mohawks, the Oneidas, and the Senecas. If they so choose, tribes could opt out of offering sports betting. If, however, they decide to participate, or they want to offer online betting then they would have to allow online sports wagers by casinos located outside their zones of exclusivity.
For a state that’s one of the leaders in sports and entertainment, they’ve really dropped the ball on a potentially lucrative industry. We’ll see how New York proceeds moving forward, but the state’s leaders haven’t instilled much confidence in those that support sports betting within “The Empire State.”
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