Following Supreme Court decision, Bonacic hopes to legalize sports betting before end of session

Photo by Baishampayan Ghose, via Flckr

A decision made early Monday morning by the U.S Supreme Court struck down a federal law that banned sports gambling in most states, leaving New York open to efforts to legalize such gambling.

The case in which the decision was made concerned New Jersey, but it could affect states across the nation. In New York, the Senate Chair of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, John Bonacic, sees the decision as an opportunity to advance legislation that could bring legal sports gambling to the state.

“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,” said Bonacic, who plans to have a bill ready for signature by the end of the current session. “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.”

The bill (S.7900), would regulate sports betting and mobile sports betting, while also taxing the total revenue gained by any bets by 8.5 percent. This revenue would be directed towards the state’s commercial gaming revenue fund.

The decision has also energized casinos, with the Batavia Downs Casino in Genesee County saying that sports gambling would even help surrounding communities.

“Legislation to allow sports betting in New York State will help grow jobs in our brick and mortar locations through Western and Central New York, and will increase the significant community development contributions we provide to our municipalities,” said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming WROTB.