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Legal Sports Betting Is Likely Coming To New York, But Not To Residents' Smartphones

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The New York State Gaming Commission is expected to allow legal sports betting before the start of summer.

But it won't be like New Jersey, where betting on a game is as easy as launching an app on your smartphone, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Thursday.

March Madness will mean big money for the Garden State, which is taxing sports bets made on apps and in person at the Meadowlands and elsewhere.

Next year you'll be able to bet on the tournament legally in New York, but only in person at one of the four licensed casinos. The closest to Manhattan is 90 miles away in Monticello.

Legal sports betting New York
It appears sports betting will soon be legal in New York at four upstate casinos. (Photo: CBS2)

Mount Vernon resident Kenneth Plummer said if he has to drive to bet, "I think definitely cross the river to the Meadowlands. It makes it much more easier, certainly much shorter commute."

MORENew York Legislation Could Allow Sports Betting In Local Stadiums

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow is pushing a bill to allow sports betting at New York locations, including Madison Square Garden and Empire City in Yonkers, as well as on smartphone apps.

"We're definitely missing the boat," Pretlow said. "Most of it happens on the app. No one wants to have to go to a facility. We found that with the OTBs."

But state regulators say the New York constitution doesn't allow for app betting, except apparently for horse racing. The NYRA Bets app was introduced three years ago.

Aiello tried to get some clarification from Assemblyman Pretlow.

Aiello: "So the administration is taking the point of view that the same constitution that allows me to bet on New York horse races on an app doesn't allow me to bet on other sports on an app?"

"That's the position that they're taking and we think they're totally wrong," Pretlow said.

The Democrat, who represents Mount Vernon, said the state is in a budget crunch and app-based sports betting is a no-brainer for raising many millions.

"We can catch up and pass New Jersey in a heartbeat, but we have to have the will to do it," Pretlow said.

However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo remains skeptical, and it's usually steep odds in Albany to bet against him.

In New Jersey, 80 percent of legal sports betting is done online, or by using a smartphone app.

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