Grim Outlook for Sports Betting Legislation in 2018

Final Day of Legislative Session is Wednesday

Mike Baggerman
June 18, 2018 - 3:00 am

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Sports betting in New York State is unlikely pass in Albany during this legislative session, which ends on Wednesday. 

Carl Heastie, the speaker of the Assembly, said there isn't enough support to pass legislation this year. It would have allowed commercial gaming at four commercial casinos in Upstate New York and share that revenue with major professional sports leagues. 

"It's a highly complex issue and we're really trying to jam this issue into a few days," Assemblyman Sean Ryan told WBEN. "My fear is that we don't want to jam an issue in that's going to be with us for years and years to come. There's a lot of objection."

Major sports leagues want a cut of the profits. According to the New York Times, MLB officials wanted legislators to pass sports gambling that gives baseball a .25% cut of every sports bet taken by the casinos. 

"We're looking to keep any revenues that come out of gambling right here in New York State," Ryan said. "And not send it back to football and baseball teams."

Other concerns regarded mobile betting. Ryan argued that by sitting at home and betting, it takes away from other revenue generators at casinos. He also questioned the ongoing issue  

"As far as any kind of expansion like mobile gaming," Assemblyman Ray Walter said. "That's dead as far as this year goes."

Walter thinks there's a majority of assembly members do support sports betting but said New York State is behind the curve.

"We're going to see it in Connecticut," Walter said. "We're going to see it in New Jersey. We'll probably see it in Pennsylvania. We're not going to have it here and we're going to be behind the eight-ball once again."

Walter said the New York State Gaming Commission can authorize betting in casinos right away because regulations were implemented when gambling casinos were legalized in 2013. However, that only applies to the four state-run casinos in Seneca County, Schenectady, Tioga County, and Sullivan County. The closest of those four is del Lago outside of Syracuse. 

The Seneca Casinos could implement sports betting, though Seneca Nation President Todd Gates told WBEN last month that they are not going to go "full-blown sports gambling". 

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