New Bill Aims to Bring Retail Sports Betting to New York Horse Tracks

  • Bill would permit in-state horse tracks to open brick-and-mortar sportsbooks
  • CARF’s Swartzlander believes horse track sportsbooks won’t prove profitable
  • Exec Pat Cummings believes sports bettors won’t take to pari-mutuel wagering
Horses racing
New York could soon have another legal betting avenue after Assemblyman David Weprin filed a resolution to permit horse tracks to operate retail sportsbooks. [Image:]

Another retail sports betting avenue has opened up for New York bettors after Assemblyman David Weprin filed a bill that would allow in-state thoroughbred and harness racetracks to operate sportsbooks.

Sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach recently took to Twitter to share a page from Weprin’s Assembly Bill A5923:

Weprin’s bill proposes an amendment to the New York State Constitution that would permit horse tracks to offer sports betting to the same degree as New York’s four upstate commercial casinos, or the state’s tribal casinos.

If passed, the bill will allow betting on both professional sports and “athletic events sponsored by universities or colleges.” Bettors could wager at in-state racetracks and in “simulcast theaters operated by off-track betting corporations and in any constitutionally authorized casino facility.”

a major coup for the struggling horse racing industry

While the bill would appear a major coup for the struggling horse racing industry, some experts are skeptical. Head of the California Authority of Racing Fairs (CARF) Larry Swartzlander believes horse track sportsbooks are not a good idea because 85-90% of wagers are digital.

Additionally, executive director of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation Pat Cummings pointed to horse racing’s pari-mutuel model as a major stumbling block. He believes it wouldn’t go down well with sports bettors who prefer to “know what price they are going to get when they bet.”

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