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New York Sports Betting Law Could Allow In-Person Wagers at Arenas

New York Knicks

Under a potential New York sports betting law, in-person wagers could be accepted at sports facilities, including Madison Square Garden

Legalized sports betting has become more widespread since last May, when the Supreme Court decided to rule the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992–which banned sports betting in most circumstances–as unconstitutional. That decision effectively paved the way for states to legalize sports betting individually, and now New York lawmakers are discussing a proposal that could allow in-person wagers at sports facilities.

Such as a law would not only figure to cover the state’s arenas, but also open the door for in-person wagers at facilities such as Yankee Stadium. State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow is a proponent of this provision, and noted Madison Square Garden as one facility where the idea could be implemented. MSG indicates that it is open to exploring the concept, but the provision is not certain to be approved at this point. More from the AP:

“That is one of the changes, that we would open it up to have affiliates such as Madison Square Garden, which has expressed an interest in doing this,” the Westchester County Democrat told a panel at Cardozo Law School. “I think it’s a great idea.”

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, also a Democrat, took a more cautious tone.

“To do it right, I think we need to do it in a very methodical manner,” Addabbo said. “I see sports betting being rolled out over a couple of years, to make sure we do it both legally and respecting the integrity of the sport, which is very important, and protecting the consumer. And then I would suggest we do roll it out to the stadiums and other venues at some point.”

In an emailed statement, the Madison Square Garden Company said “there are several areas, such as on-site gaming, we’d like to explore with the State and our league partners.”

Perhaps the closest example of this type of provision in another jurisdiction comes from Washington, DC, where officials have approved but have yet to implement a law that allows in-person wagers at professional sports facilities. Other states, however, have stopped short of allowing in-person bets to take place at professional sports venues. Despite that, there have still been opportunities for sports gambling entities to gain a sizable presence at arenas and other facilities. As an example, Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center recently opened the William Hill Sports Lounge, an area where event attendees can track their bets but–in accordance with state law–cannot place in-person wagers. There is some debate about whether in-person wagers are really necessary. After all, almost every sports fan has a device from which wagers can be placed–a cell phone.

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