The Oneida Indian Nation on Wednesday said that it is teaming up with Caesars Entertainment to offer sports betting at its Oneida County properties just as soon as it is able. The del Lago casino in Seneca County announced a similar partnership back in July.
But while New York’s casinos will be able to offer sports betting as soon as the state Gaming Commission sets up regulations, others are waiting on the sidelines to see if the state Legislature will legalize more far-ranging sports betting this year.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports gambling, several states have jumped into the game. And some in New York believe the state has been missing out on some easy money by failing to play along. After all, neighboring Pennsylvania and New Jersey already allow it, and there is an argument to be made that since people already gamble illegally, it makes sense for states to regulate it and take a few bucks off the top.
But a recent analysis by the Associated Press shows that tax revenue from sports betting hasn’t brought in as much money as some states had anticipated - not nearly enough to put a dent in pressing costs like education, infrastructure and Medicaid. And the pool of money being gambled is continually being diluted by the fact that more states are offering more choices for customers.
Critics point out that sports gambling raises the risk of players being paid to influence the results of contests. And gambling of any sort carries with it the reality that some people will bet - and lose - a lot more than they can afford to, so states need to be prepared to offer help to people who get into trouble.
So as the Legislature considers the potential revenues that sports betting might bring to New York, lawmakers need to be realistic about the potential benefits and also be ready to accept responsibility for any social ills that come attached.