Seneca Nation exploring sports betting, as legalization efforts move forward

May 9, 2019

New York lawmakers are taking a closer look at authorizing sports betting on smart phones and whether it would require a change to the state Constitution.

The Democrat-led state Senate held a hearing on the issue Wednesday that attracted gambling lobbyists, attorneys and representatives from the NBA and PGA.

Supporters say the state could make hundreds of millions of dollars off sports betting, money that is now going to illegal wagers or to states like New Jersey, which has already legalized sports betting.

New York's four non-Native American-owned casinos will begin offering sports wagers once new regulations are finalized. A statement from the Seneca Nation of Indians to WBFO said they attended the hearing.

"The Seneca Nation is monitoring this effort and is optimistic that Senator Addabbo has taken the time and made the effort to reach out to the Native nations in New York for our input on a bill that has the potential to impact our existing gaming operations....As sports betting moves toward legalization in New York, the Seneca Nation will explore its impacts, as well as our options to participate in this popular and potentially lucrative gaming option."

A bill before lawmakers would authorize bets on mobile devices and eventually at sports venues. Gov. Andrew Cuomo contends that could take a Constitutional amendment, which requires voter approval.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.