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Mobile sports betting: what are the odds local areas will be left out?

Updated: Apr. 6, 2021 at 4:35 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The deal for a state budget includes mobile sports betting. But what are the odds parts of the north country could be left out?

“It is confusing and convoluted.” That’s what state Senator Joe Griffo says about Governor Cuomo’s proposal for mobile sports betting, allowing people to pick up their phone and place a sports bet from anywhere.

But, The plan would exclude the state’s tribal casino operators, including the Oneida Indian Nation.

“In the Oneida’s case, they have exclusivity relative that they identify this as a potential issue and say that they need to be involved,” said Griffo (R. - 47th District).

Griffo says The Oneida Nation’s exclusive gaming rights, affecting a 10 county region, started in 2013.

This new proposal would breach that deal.

“As a result of their exclusivity compact clause, nobody in central New York in 10 counties would be able to have access to mobile sports betting,” said Griffo.

That includes Lewis County, meaning someone sitting in Lowville or Copenhagen wouldn’t be able to participate.

In response, the Oneida Nation offered a compromise, which was rejected by the state.

As an alternative, the nation created a geographic barrier where someone in Lewis County can’t connect to a computer outside of the Oneida’s territory.

Still though, there’s much left up in the air.

“I can’t even tell you ultimately what this finally will look like as a hybrid was being discussed, but in the end, even that hybrid is unacceptable and going to be confusing to most people,” said Griffo.

It is also unclear if this proposal would affect the Mohawk Nation, which operates a casino near Massena, and the counties that benefit from that state gaming agreement.

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