Albany has been weighing decisions on expanding sports betting since the US Supreme Court struck down a federal law last year.
New York does have a sports betting law from 2013 allowing limited wagering at four commercial casinos, with restrictions (keep in mind Native American tribal-owned/operated casinos can have different rules and regulations).
The American Gaming Association stated that 47 million Americans will wager $8.5 billion on this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, with one in five adults placing bets someway, somehow. Yet, New York’s betting laws restrict wagering on state college teams. Batavia Downs, an affiliated casino, and other legal gambling houses want in on March Madness.
Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs says, “It would certainly, again, create foot traffic through the place, it would allow our patrons who overwhelmingly tell us through the petitioning process and the focus groups and interactions that we have here, that they want to bet on sporting events.”
Ryan Haseneuer, Director of Marketing for Batavia Downs agrees. “…But to have people to place a small wager, to make it a little more fun, to make a little bit of money, it certainly would attract more people to come into the facility.”
Wojtaszek says New York was actually ahead of everyone else with their 2013 sports betting laws, but restrictions are still tight. He would like to see laws more akin to Las Vegas. He adds, “Sports betting itself would be betting on specific games, betting on ‘over/unders’, betting on certain outcomes of different plays.”
According to the AGA, expanded sports betting is currently being considered in 23 states across the country.