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Sports betting approved at four upstate casinos

ALBANY — The New York State Gaming Commission approved sports betting in person at four upstate casinos on Monday, while a bill in the state Legislature to allow betting on mobile devices remains stalled.

Under regulations the commission adopted, bets could be made in person at one of four upstate casinos (Schenectady, Monticello, Nichols and Tyre).  

Further, the action means Native American casinos in New York also can offer sports betting. Because of legal guarantees they can offer any games offered at non-Indian casinos.

Betting cannot begin immediately; the casinos must first obtain separate licenses to host sports betting. Officials have said that is likely  to happen later this summer – before football season.

One of the companies, Rivers Casino and Resort Schenectady, said it will begin offering sports betting as soon as it gets a license.

The commission's decision was the latest move to expand gambling in New York and other states since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 struck down a federal ban on sports betting.

A potentially even bigger gambling expansion remains on hold in the Legislature.

Lawmakers and sports leagues are pushing a bill that would allow betting on mobile devices, such as phones and laptop computers, that would connect with the casinos. It's a set-up that would be likely to expand sports betting rapidly in New York, backers say. But it hasn’t racked up a majority of legislative supporters yet.

Besides, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has  said he is “not a fan” of mobile sports betting and says it is unconstitutional. As with the four upstate casinos, voters would have to approve a statewide referendum to allow mobile betting, the governor contends.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Queens), sponsor of the legislation, says his bill has a way around that hurdle: Requiring that any mobile betting be routed through computer network servers at existing casinos.

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