ALBANY – Sports gambling should be permitted at four upstate casinos, according to the budget plan unveiled today by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
“It’s here and it’s a reality," Cuomo told an audience at a state theater near the Capitol this afternoon.
Budget documents released so far today are silent on precisely how sports gambling would begin in New York.
If the four upstate casinos get sports gambling, Native American tribes, including the Seneca Nation of Indians, believe they can – because of language in compacts and federal law – also offer sports betting at their casinos. The Senecas have three casinos in Western New York.
But sources for a couple of weeks have said Cuomo is not yet interested in expanding sports gambling beyond in-person wagering at the four upstate casinos authorized under a constitutional amendment and statute passed in 2013.
The U.S. Supreme Court last year lifted a federal ban on sports wagering that had been mostly limited to Nevada. In legalizing new commercial casinos in 2013, Cuomo and lawmakers inserted a provision to let the new gambling halls offer sports gambling if the federal ban was ever ended.
The governor’s Gaming Commission needs to first issue regulations to govern the sports betting operations at those casinos. Gambling companies and others have been pressing to permit sports gambling statewide via online platforms. But some Cuomo insiders believe a constitutional amendment may be needed to go beyond in-person sports betting at the four casinos authorized in 2013.
The state’s off track betting corporations, including Western Regional OTB, have lobbied to be a part of any sports betting operation.
The existing four casinos where Cuomo Tuesday said he wants to see sports gambling be offered are located in the southern Catskills, Schenectady, Tioga County in the southern tier and in Seneca County in the Town of Tyre.