Supreme Court case could open the door for sports betting in NY

November 24, 2017 03:19 PM

Sports betting has been illegal in most of the United States for the last 25 years. But, now, there's a chance that could change.

On December 4, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in an appeal filled by the state of New Jersey. They're attempting to prove the federal ban on sports betting is illegal. And New York lawmakers are keeping a close eye on the case.


When we visited Temple Bar and Grille it was basketball, but there's a game on every night. And many sports fans see the benefit of bringing the bets on these games out of the shadows.

"People are going to do it, places are going to do it, so if it's going to happen, then you might as well regulate it and perhaps tax it, get some revenue," says Mike Cona, Rochester resident.

Steve Doty, of the American Gaming Association, tells us: "What we've seen since New Jersey has come out and pushed for this is that a number of other states have signaled a desire to have a new look at this law."

The American Gaming Association has been a major driver behind the New Jersey. They want states to be able to tap into an estimated $150 billion sports betting industry in the United States -- 97 percent of which they say is illegal activity.

"In New York specifically, you're looking at up to $1.7 billion in economic input, a legal market could support up to 8,000 jobs and bring in $877 million in additional tax impact to New York State alone," Doty explains.

"Right now, the legislation is written, it's done, it's passed, it's on the books right now," says J. Gary Pretlow, NYS Assembly.

And New York is ready to take advantage. Assemblyman Pretlow, who represents Westchester, says sports betting was approved for New York casinos as part of the Constitutional amendment that allowed casinos in the state.

He says, "I personally think the ban was illegal in allowing certain states to participate and other states not too."

But the tax revenue and potential jobs don't outweigh risks for everyone... "It's kind of the silent addiction," says Jennifer Faringer. "It doesn't present with the typical signs and symptoms that one would see with addictions to drugs or alcohol."

Faringer at the National Center of Alcohol and Drug Dependency in Rochester is concerned about the addictive nature of sports betting. It's an addiction that she says leads to suicide for one in every five people that it grasps.

"Any time you talk about dropping the ban, you talk about increased access, so that's the issue here," says Faringer.

So again, oral arguments will be heard by the Supreme Court on Monday, December 4 and a decision is expected sometime in early 2018.


Brett Davidsen

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