New York State Capitol


With Democrats Undecided, Fate Of Sports Betting In New York Unclear

June 12, 2018 - 11:39 am

ALBANY, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Sports betting becomes legal this week in New Jersey, but will New York follow?

With just five working days to go in Albany this year, there is no clear consensus. WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman took the pulse of the statehouse Tuesday.

We have heard the argument in favor of sports betting over and over. But some New York state lawmakers have not made up their minds.

“(It) is an unusual feeling for me. I’m usually pretty decided about most things,” said state Assemblyman Dick Gottfried (D-Manhattan). “I personally don’t like gambling. I don’t think it’s healthy to be pursuing your fortune that way rather than doing productive work.”

But Gottfried is not sure if it is the government’s place to shake its finger at people.

Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz (D-The Bronx) also expressed reservations.

“Well, I don’t want to use the word morality,” he said, “but yeah, I really don’t like putting my stamp of approval on an activity which I believe disproportionately hurts lower-income people.”

Their colleague, Joe Lentol (D-Brooklyn) told Politico he is not sure if legalizing sports betting is constitutional. Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) said he will go with the winds of his conference, but it is not clear if he will go with anything before the end of the session.

“I don’t sense that there’s a great demand to do it,” Heastie said. “This is certainly not the number one issue for most people.”

And yet, five days could be an eternity for Albany, and the end of a legislative year in Albany could be unpredictable.