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Volume 25 No. 85
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Sports Betting Fallout: New York State Looking At Legal Framework

Gambling operators and state legislators in New York are "scrambling to craft a new regulatory framework" to allow for legalized sports betting, according to David Lombardo of the Albany TIMES UNION. A recent state law "outlines a general process for offering sports gambling at the state's new upstate casinos, but a comprehensive overhaul would need to be adopted before the end of the legislative session in six weeks to move it forward this year." The New York Gaming Commission "must also adopt regulations and issue a sports gambling license before the casinos could offer sports wagering." New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday "rejected the idea that sports gambling in New York could be rolled out using the broad framework crafted" in '13. Cuomo said that a new law was "needed if the state wanted to proceed with sports gambling" (Albany TIMES UNION, 5/16).

LET'S TAKE A LOOK: In Indianapolis, Tony Cook in a front-page piece reports Indiana lawmakers will take a "closer look at sports betting" before reconvening for the '19 legislative session. Sports betting was added to the list of topics to discuss "just hours before" legislative leaders met yesterday following the Supreme Court's decision Monday. The ruling "clears the way for Indiana lawmakers to legalize gambling on sports -- if they want to do so." However, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma "warned that the decision to study the issue doesn't necessarily imply support." Additionally, input from the NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, is "expected to play an important role in the state's direction" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/16). Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey "plans to introduce legislation that could open the door for sports betting in the state with K-12 education reaping some of the benefits." Gambling is currently "illegal in Tennessee with exemptions of the state lottery, certain charitable events approved by two-thirds of the legislature and fantasy sports" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/16). Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said that he is "open to the idea of allowing Arizonans to place bets on sporting events at 55 off-track betting sites around the state." The earliest residents "could legally place bets ... would be next year." Meanwhile, several Native American tribes "already are expressing interest in revamping their agreements with the state to also allow them to offer sports wagering" (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 5/16).

WAITING A LITTLE BIT LONGER: In Louisville, Aulbach & Loftus report Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is "open to hearing what proposals state lawmakers may put forward" regarding legalized betting. Bevin previously "has spoken out against gambling," but he "stopped short of saying he is against gambling on sports" yesterday. He said that individual states "should have the right to legalize the activity if they choose." However, Bevin is in "no rush to legalize gambling." He said that he "expects state lawmakers to form committees to research the subject, including how it has impacted other states that have legalized sports betting, and how the move could potentially help Kentucky" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 5/16). In Colorado, Peter Roper in a front-page piece reports Gov. John Hickenlooper's office said that it will take a "statewide ballot question for Colorado to approve sports wagering." The state's General Assembly "just concluded its yearly session without giving any thought to sports betting." The state deadline in Colorado for getting a ballot question before state voters was April 6, so the "earliest any action can happen is during the next session of the Legislature, which begins next January" (PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN, 5/16). In DC, Steve Thompson notes any betting proposal in Maryland "now must wait until next year, barring a special legislative session, which the office of Gov. Larry Hogan said he has no plans to initiate." That "pushes the soonest potential legalization" to '20. Meanwhile, DC council member Jack Evans would "like to get betting in place before Maryland and Virginia do, so gamblers from across the region can spend their dollars in Washington." He is "planning to introduce a bill" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/16).

MAINTAINING THE STATUS QUO: In Maine, Thistle & Craig reported while several states are "poised to offer legalized sports betting," do "not expect to find it in Maine anytime soon." Maine Gambling Control Board Exec Dir Milton Champion said that there is "no sports-betting legislation pending" in the state. He added that he was not expecting the "prospect of sports betting to come up during the board's monthly meeting" that took place yesterday. However, Maine state Rep. Louis Luchini said that he "anticipates multiple bills on sports betting will be introduced" during the '19 legislative session (PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, 5/15). Nothing will "change immediately in Montana," which was one of the few states allowed to keep limited sports betting under the PASPA bill passed in '92. It will take the state legislature "introducing and passing a bill to allow" for increased sports betting, and the "next regularly scheduled session" is slated for '19. Montana state Sen. Mark Blasdel: "I don't think it's a significant revenue source. It'd be another option if that's what they put forward, but it all depends on what the framework and the legislation looks like" (HELENA INDEPENDENT RECORD, 5/15).

TEXAS TWO-STEP: In San Antonio, Mike Finger writes it is unlikely sports betting will "spread to Texas." As long as the "most powerful men in this state remain the most powerful men in this state, there is no reason to believe Monday's Supreme Court ruling ... will have much of an impact south of the Red River." Even if the Republicans in the state legislature "miraculously changed their minds about gambling, or even if the Democrats miraculously win control this November, the earliest we could see any legal sports gambling in Texas would be" spring '19. But that is "not going to happen, because our politicians have made it quite clear they are not interested in playing ball, however lucrative it might be" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 5/15). However, in Austin, Kirk Bohls writes gambling is "good business." Most people in Texas "will not jump on board with legalized sports wagering now that the Supreme Court has abolished the federal government's ban." Texas can "get on that train or let every adjacent state add to its coffers at the expense of revenue here at home." Bohls: "Legalize it, and tax the hell out of it" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/16).