Sports Betting Bills Floated in N.Y., South Carolina

Lawmakers in the two states are letting fly with a couple of Hail Mary passes in the face of a longstanding federal ban on sports betting. New York already has a law on the books authorizing the activity provided Congress reverses the ban. The South Carolina measure would require a constitutional amendment just to get to that point.

State lawmakers in New York and South Carolina have introduced longshot legislation to authorize sports betting.

Five New York Senate Democrats introduce a bill that would allow professional and college sports betting at state casinos, racetracks and off-track betting parlors. The South Carolina measure, authored by Democratic state Rep. Todd Rutherford, includes sports betting as part of a broad expansion of gaming in the state that also would include casinos.

Legalization in South Carolina would require voter approval to amend the state Constitution, while both measures also will have to overcome a nationwide ban on sports betting in place since 1992 in the form of the U.S. Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

The 2013 law that authorized new casino development in upstate New York allows state casinos and tracks to add sports betting provided Congress changes or repeals PASPA.

New Jersey has been trying for years to sidestep the federal prohibition with a series of enabling acts, but these have consistently been shot down by the federal courts in response to lawsuits filed by the NCAA and the professional sports leagues.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce soon whether it will hear New Jersey’s latest appeal of those rejections.

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