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New York lawmaker mulls challenging federal sports betting ban

TAGs: Atlantic City, Gary Pretlow, Jasmine Solana, New York, PASPA

Not contented with just regulating fantasy sports, a state assemblyman wants to take things further and has expressed interest in passing a law that would legalize sports betting in New York.

New York lawmaker mulls challenging federal sports betting banAssembly Racing Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) said he is considering treading the same path as New Jersey and introduce a legislation that would allow residents in the state to take sports bets, Democrat & Chronicle reported.

A confessed “believer in legalizing sports betting,” Pretlow said his bill’s goal is to “pressure the Congress” into changing the existing sports betting laws.

“I’m considering this year putting in legislation similar to New Jersey’s legislation and hopefully it gets to court in the Second Circuit, and hopefully we get a different opinion,” Pretlow said, according to the report.

Other lawmakers remain on the fence about introducing—let alone discussing—a new gambling-related legislation this early. John Bonacic, chairman of the Senate Racing Committee, said the topic of sports betting legalization in New York “is premature at this point” since there are still “significant legal issues to consider before undertaking this endeavor.

If Pretlow can get his sports gambling approved by the New York state legislature, which will convene in January, there’s a huge possibility that it would face legal challenges from sports league under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)—the federal law that outlaws sports betting nationwide except for a few states.

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down New Jersey’s plan to offer legal sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks. The court found fault in New Jersey’s argument that PASPA unnecessarily binds the hands of states, depriving them of making their own determination of sports betting’s legality, pointing out that it “sweeps too broadly.”

New York already has nine racetracks with video lottery terminals in addition to five tribal casinos and four upstate casinos that are scheduled to open next year. The state is also facing growing competition from neighboring Massachusetts, which had greenlit the development of several integrated resorts, as well as the potential new casinos in northern New Jersey.

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