The top lawmaker on the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee on Monday said he is confident the Legislature could move to legalize sports betting in New York by the end of the session next month.
The Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for sports gambling, determining in a ruling that states can pass individual laws that allow it.
New York earlier this year held a hearing on the issue, and state Sen. John Bonacic in his statement pointed to previous efforts to study the issue of sports gambling.
“New York has been preparing for this moment since as far back as 2013 and we have remained proactive in anticipation of this decision by the Court,” Bonacic said.
“The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee held a public hearing in January that brought together stakeholders from across the gaming spectrum to discuss this issue in depth. Since that time, I have introduced legislation that has passed committee and continued to have productive discussions regarding the issue. I am confident that working together with my colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly, we can have a bill ready for Governor’s signature by the end of the session.”
But, both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Monday threw cold water on the sports gambling, saying to do so comes late in the legislative session.
“We haven’t reviewed it and it’s nothing that we’ve talked about with the Legislature,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference in New York City. “We passed casino gaming as you know, but there’s been no discussion beyond that.”
Noting the session ends in at the end of next month, Cuomo said he was doubtful there would be “any action this year” on the issue.
Heastie, too, was similarly measured.
“We haven’t had a chance to discuss it as a conference. We have to really look at it,” he told reporters at the Capitol in Albany. “Gambling is something that for members of the Assembly we don’t take lightly. Anything that expands it, we want to take a really hard look at it.”
New York voters in 2013 approved a constitutional amendment authorizing commercial casinos, and that amendment authorized the casinos to open sports books if the ban were lifted. However, further legislation is needed before any bets can be taken. Major League Baseball, the NBA and casino interests have done intense lobbying in Albany in recent months.
Bonacic also leaves office at the end of the year, announcing last month he would not seek re-election.