New York sports betting bill faces long odds in legislature
Legal Sports Report

Oneida Nation Opposes NY Sports Betting Bill In Letter To Governor

Oneida Nation Turning Stone sports betting

The Oneida Indian Nation voiced its opposition to the current New York sports betting legislation in a letter to counsel for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Legal Sports Report has learned.

The Oneida — which operate Turning Stone Resort and Point Place Casino in the state — do not appear to oppose sports betting, just the way the state legislature is going about it.

The tribe’s opposition comes to light as efforts to pass new NY sports betting law appear to be failing. Request for comment from the Oneida by Legal Sports Report went unreturned.

What the Oneida said on sports betting

In the letter sent by a lawyer for the Oneida, the tribe lays out a legal argument for why the legislation currently under consideration would violate both the tribe’s gaming compact and state law:

From the letter:

The proposed legislation’s expansion of sports betting to permit it at kiosks or via mobile phones and other computer devices within the Oneida Nation’s exclusivity zone would break faith with the Nation-State Settlement Agreement under which the Nation has performed to the substantial economic benefit of the State. And it would breach the constitutional restrictions that limit casino gambling to gambling “at” “no more than seven” authorized casinos.

The tribe appears to disagree with provisions that would allow wagering within its “exclusivity zone.” It’s not clear if the tribe would support the legislation should that zone be ring-fenced via geolocation technology.

Oneida already have plans on sports betting?

Much like tribes in Mississippi, the Oneida appear to have designs to roll out sports betting in the short term in the existing climate. Here’s more from the Democrat and Chronicle, in the wake of the US Supreme Court decision striking down the federal ban on sports gambling:

“In anticipation of today’s ruling, the Nation has made preparations to offer sports betting at venues throughout the Oneida reservation, and we will be putting those plans into operation in the near future,” tribe spokesman Joel Barkin said in a statement Monday.

A 2013 law opened up sports betting for the state’s commercial casinos, although it’s not clear if the state will move forward at those facilities without a new law widely expanding wagering. However, the state’s gaming commission said it was prepping regulations for the commercial casinos in May.

Lobbying the governor on sports betting

Multiple reports have painted an almost impossible picture for sports betting legislation to advance in the capitol already; legislators head home next week.

And that’s without knowing exactly what Cuomo is going to do, should the bill land on his desk. Cuomo, according to past reports, has intimated that there isn’t enough time to come to an agreement on sports betting. That, on top of the wider uncertainty and opposition to sports betting in Albany, makes it look like NY is going to punt its legislative effort until 2019, unless lawmakers can pull a rabbit out of their hat.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.