Larkin Introduces Bill To Expand Telephone Betting To Include Bets Placed By Cell Phone / I-net

William J. Larkin, Jr.

June 06, 2005

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today introduced legislation (S.5391) in the State Senate to update the law on the placement of telephone betting by New Yorkers at New York race tracks and Off-track Betting Corporations (OTB).

"There is not much of a difference between placing a bet from your kitchen phone or from your home computer," said Senator Larkin. "This bill will save the racing industry much needed funds because the transaction costs of going through the Internet for example are much lower than using regular land based phone service that involves an OTB representative. These savings will help the race track facilities and OTBs, and at the same time, generate more revenue for local governments."

The law authorizing telephone betting was enacted in 1990 before the wide use of cell phones or the use of the Internet. Under current law, New Yorkers can open an account at a New York race track or OTB to bet by telephone on racing events in this state.

The proposal by Larkin defines "telephone betting accounts" and "telephone wagering" to include wagers placed via wireless telephones and the Internet. It also extends the statute that authorizes telephone wagering from June 30, 2007 to June 30, 2009. "As we continue to work on ways to help the struggling racing industry and all the jobs it supports, it is logical to extend the time frame of the statute as well to see if this change is beneficial to horse racing fans and to the revenue stream of race tracks and OTBs," said Larkin.

According to the bill, no bets will be accepted that are paid by credit cards. Also, New Yorkers will only be able to place bets at in-state facilities. The bill does not authorize "off-shore" Internet betting sites.