New York's Delay on Legalized Sports Wagering Has Created a New Meaning for Bridge Jumping



New Jersey is reaping the benefits of New York's delay to implement sports betting within the five boroughs of the city that never sleeps.

Why not create safe, convenient "Sports Book Lots" for adjoining states & sports bettors?

Anyone reading last week’s "breaking news" should feel some anxiety if their wagering habits include a significant amount of online wagering behavior.  The U.S. Department of Justice or DOJ created quite a stir announcing a very unofficial uphold of the 1961 Wire Act to include online wagering.  Still, a cargo-load of gray area for lawyers and legislators to fight over for an extended period. 

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual in the nation’s capital of online wagering, the Garden State of New Jersey.  The triumphant state that’s led the fight for both online wagering against the UIGEA, the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 plus the Wire Act.  Clearing the way for all U.S. states besides Nevada to pursue legalized sports wagering on May 14th. 

There is no doubt both the casino industry plus several states introducing sports betting to incorporate online wagering will be regrouping and adjusting their contingency business plans.  The effects will be felt among key states including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois, who were on the doorstep of some very aggressive moves. 

But what about the players?  The guys (and some gals) who have waited patiently and dreamed all their lives for this opportunity?  They have enjoyed the unrestrictive chance to wager online among the best preferred online sportsbooks for nearly two decades.  Here comes the first U.S. breakthrough for legalized online sports wagering PLUS casino wagering and the keys may be taken away immediately. 

So where in America has the pain been felt the greatest?   And what is the alternative solution many sports gamblers have created to accommodate the temporary situation?

New York, NY and New York State

You guessed it.  The city that never sleeps.  But in this case an entire state has been asleep behind legal in-fighting, cell signals and now the impending threat of a reversal of a reversal of a 58-year-old Federal law.

"NY State officials said current law and the state Constitution doesn't allow for mobile sports betting."


New York state is now expected to move toward allowing sports betting at four upstate casinos and Native American casinos.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday backed letting the upstate casinos in the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Albany area and Catskills add sports betting to their portfolio.

The caveat is the NY Gaming Commission must issue regulations to allow for it.  Betting would only be "on site" because state officials said current law and the state Constitution doesn't allow for mobile sports betting.  Last week’s bombshell announcement by the DOJ certainly cemented that proposition, making overall Internet casino wagering an even greater longshot for the immediate future.

"We invested in upstate casinos. Let's authorize sports betting in the upstate casinos," Cuomo said during his State of the State address Tuesday.

The casinos have been agonizingly waiting since the May 14th PASPA legalization announcement for the go-ahead, but the commission has yet to formally issue the regulations.The long delay is undoubtedly due to a tax dispute with the Seneca Nation of Indians, who operate three casinos in western New York.

Earlier this month, though, an arbitration panel ruled that the Senecas need to pay the state more than $200 million in back taxes, ending the stalemate.

Under the state law authorizing four upstate casinos, it also allowed for sports betting only if the federal ban was lifted. It also allows sports betting at the state's seven Native American casinos. 

A New Definition for “Bridge-Jumping”

In the horse racing world, the definition for bridge-jumping has always been known for a bettor placing a giant wager to show on a heavily favored horse (say 1-5), expecting a certain guaranteed $2.10 or 5% payoff.  That guarantee DID NOT develop, subsequently the horse finished fourth or worse in the race, motivating them to potentially jump off the nearest bridge.

Along came New Jersey’s first entry into legalized sports betting in June, inventing a new definition for bridge jumping. The first opportunity to wager online, BUT only within the protected, legal WiFi signal domain of New Jersey.  With thousands of hungry bettors waiting just across New York City’s five boroughs came their only chance.  However, a hefty bridge toll (or tunnel fee) was the only way to receive a necessary cell signal, securing their sports book wagers.

New Jersey sports bettingThe past six months welcomed thousands of sports gamblers habitually venturing over the George Washington or perhaps even the Delaware Memorial Bridge into Southern New Jersey receiving an opportunity to bet the Yankees, Mets, G-Men or pray for the Jets on Sunday with the points.  Although there aren’t figures attached to it, the true guaranteed winners were the adjoining states picking up incremental revenue from the tolls collected.  And by the way, cash tolls on the GW Bridge, plus the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, go for $15.00 back into New York for a round trip!! 

Sports Book Lots

All consensus opinion believes the DOJ ruling was a complete, politically-motivated favor by President Trump to reward his largest Republican Party donor, Sheldon Adelson.  His relentless RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) campaign to destroy Internet wagering in the U.S. refused to die.  The philosophy being the option for online betting will provide destruction toward his on-site casino properties, plus overall enhancing social evil within our society.

In a complete disagreement, I offer a new solution that could help promote good-will, service, create revenue and jobs for our economy.  The Sports Book Lot.

Echoing the success and culture of Airport Cell Lots or Lanes, why not create an area immediately after a bridge or tunnel in legal sports book states for bettors to safely park, congregate and wager on their cell phones and computers? 

A study could be done to create a building to also sell food and other revenue generating, tax creating services for the states to share.  This does not defeat the purpose of denying any casino on-site revenue, for which a sports bettor had no intention to purposely attend. 

As for "bridge-jumping" on Super Bowl Sunday.  Look for two guys parked, sitting alone in a car in a very dangerous, high traffic spot about a half mile past the George Washington Bridge on the Jersey side.  They aren’t planning a drug deal, considering suicide or making love.  Just perhaps getting a parlay bet in on the Big Game plus some proposition wagers. 

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.