The U.S Supreme Court ruled it’s up to states if they want sports betting to be legal.
“We've been doing some homework on this over the last several months,” Michael Nolan, the COO of Batavia Downs. He is hopeful that his facility will soon be able to host sports betting.
“It wouldn't be a problem for us to be ready for the upcoming NFL season,” added Nolan.
In order for that to happen, the state legislature would have to pass new laws involving casinos.
“If the New York State legislature did nothing over the next six weeks someone who lives in Buffalo would have to drive 112 miles to place a bet,” said Nolan.
If nothing happens, there would only be four state casinos eligible to take wagers on sports.
The closest to Buffalo is Del Lago in Waterloo. But, there's a plan to make sports betting more accessible. A plan Nolan is for.
The chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee put forward legislation in March that would allow places like Batavia Downs to accept sports bets. That would also mean Off Track Betting would be allowed to take the same bets. There are 19 OTBs in the Buffalo area.
A bill could be voted on before the end of the legislative session. The session ends in June.
More betting opportunities, could mean more problems for some.
“The 4% of people who have problems with gambling are going to have problems. But, I think that percentage might go up a little bit because people knocking on the door that might have some issues that don't meet the full criteria of problem-gambling are going to have more problems,” said Matthew Jost, a licensed clinical social worker who deals with gambling addiction.