In Parts 1 and 2, we discussed different gambling offenses that are prosecuted by the Federal Government and the District Attorney’s offices in New York. When it comes to gambling, whether it’s horse-racing or slot machines, the gaming industry is regulated at the state level. Given the different histories of each state, it is no surprise that gambling laws amongst the states range from extremely tolerant of gambling to highly regulated.

The rules on legal gambling in New York State can be a little murky. Gambling laws have historically limited gambling to casinos on Indian reservations and allowed betting on horse racing. Casinos on Indian Territory are allowed, but not elsewhere – for now. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been calling for the legalization of casinos in the rest of the state.

New York also already has what are known as “racinos”: horse racing tracks where there are also video slot machines, along with plenty of betting on the actual horses.

Betting on those same horses online is also allowed. But betting on poker and other card games on the internet is not.


The exception for horse racing has to do with the fact that it’s a sport, and thus different, according to state Assemblyman Gary Pretlow.

But if it’s a sport, then why doesn’t New York allow for betting on all sports, like baseball or football?

As I discussed in Part 1, it has to do partially with just who – or what – is competing in the sport, and if there is a skill in the wagering and not simply based on luck.

Last Monday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie issued a directive allowing his states’ casinos and racetracks to immediately offer sports betting without fear of criminal or civil liability. His actions are likely to be challenged in court by the professional and collegiate sports leagues that fought NJ’s efforts to overturn a ban on sports betting in all but 4 states.

Christie said he took his cue from previous federal court rulings that found that nothing in NJ law prohibits the casinos and race tracks from offering sports betting. It appears the governor thinks that these developments will bolster the economic landscape in Atlantic City as well as other parts of the state.


Source: New York Post, “Christie greenlights sports betting.”

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