When New York gaming regulators recently approved sports gambling, left out of the equation was any possibility to offer online wagers. This was an intentional omission, as the segment would reportedly require an amendment to the states constitution, which could only happen through a public referendum. Now, a couple of lawmakers in The Empire State believe they have found a loophole and are pushing forward online sports gambling legislation that could allow mobile bets in the very near future.
Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who previously sponsored an online poker bill, believe that online sports gambling could be completely legal without constitutional intervention if all components of the activity were controlled within the state. This means that everything from the Internet servers on up would need to be within New York’s Borders. The only other stipulation would be that gamblers would need to first register in person in one of the designated casinos.
The lawmakers must prove their stance within the next 60 days, which is the amount of time given for a public consultation period prior to the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) making its final decision. Pretlow adds, “[The NYSGC] didn’t do what I wanted them to do, which was to validate mobile betting. I’m advocating for this and so is the Senator. It may be helpful if the governor’s office got an onslaught of letters and emails from New Yorkers saying they want mobile betting, and without it their betting dollars are going elsewhere.”
In a way, the loophole may have been uncovered thanks to the quizzical opinion reversal on the Federal Wire Act recently offered by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Federal Wire Act states that interstate gambling is illegal and places limitations on money transfers across state lines when those are conducted in relation to gambling activity. However, if a state offers online gambling activity that is 100% controlled within its own borders, it shouldn’t run afoul of the opinion.
The NYSGC approved draft regulations a few days ago, opening the doors for four casinos in the state to offer legal sportsbooks. Those four include Rivers Casino, Tioga Downs Casino, Del Lago Resort and Casino and Resorts World Catskills. Tribal casinos in the state will also be allowed to offer sports gambling.