Photo Courtesy of Sen. Addabbo’s Office
Sen. Addabbo is the ranking member of the Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee.
By Michael V. Cusenza
While the U.S. Supreme Court mulls the fate of the law that prohibits the vast majority of states from authorizing sports betting, the New York State Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering recently hosted a public hearing to gather input on legalizing the act in NY—should the federal ban be lifted or limited by the nine justices in D.C.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), ranking member on the committee, said the elected officials heard from “a variety of witnesses” who discussed the pros and cons of making it legal to wager on sporting events in the Empire State.
“Groups including the NBA, OTB, national sports betting organizations, horse breeders, and the New York Council on Problem Gambling were represented, along with leaders of the State Gaming Commission and the New York Racing Association,” Addabbo reported.
The Supreme Court is weighing the pros and cons, risks and rewards of doing away with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the federal measure that made sports betting illegal in all but four states: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana.
Addabbo noted that the Upstate Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013, which allowed for casino development in the state following approval of a public referendum, contains a provision that would give the green light to sports wagering at NY casinos if it is legalized at the federal level.
“It was educational to listen to those who spoke on various aspects of legalized sports betting, including whether it might ultimately be permitted at racetracks as well as casinos,” Addabbo said. “Witnesses also spoke to whether sports leagues should receive a portion of the total amounts wagered, and whether legalized sports betting would add to an already serious problem of compulsive gambling in New York State. It is a complex issue, and I am sure there will be greater discussions in New York depending on the U.S. Supreme Court decision.”
Addabbo also noted that the SCOTUS ruling could directly impact his 15th Senatorial District: Resorts World Casino New York City and Aqueduct Raceway call South Ozone Park home.
“There are clearly benefits and drawbacks to legalized sports betting, but I think it is important to instill some form of rational and effective regulation on the practice, so that individuals can witness new job opportunities, our state can realize additional revenues,” he said. “I look forward to hearing from my constituents and other interested parties on this complicated issue.”