New York Daily News

Where is there?


Join us, if you will, for a journey into the minds of New York State legislator­s, a species with brains so nimble they redefine plain language to suit their purposes. We give you Sen. Joe Addabbo, Albany’s chief gaming — er, gambling — enthusiast, who now presses to legalize online and smartphone poker, blackjack and more in a state where the Constituti­on explicitly forbids gambling with limited carve outs including the lottery, horse tracks and at seven fullfledge­d casinos.

The Legislatur­e first made a mockery of this ban by claiming that daily fantasy sports betting, whereby participan­ts assemble a roster of players and wager money based on their performanc­e on the field, wasn’t betting at all. It was skill, not chance. The state’s highest court even blessed the ridiculous interpreta­tion.

The camel got its hump into the tent when legislator­s then legalized plain old mobile sports betting on spreads, over-unders and the like, which no one with a straight face can claim has anything to do with skill. They did so based on the absurdity that betting is occurring “at” a casino because the servers processing the wagers happen to be there, even when the bettor might be sitting on a subway on the Manhattan Bridge.

Now, resting on the same bad joke, the camel gets ready to drag its rump entirely inside the tent, yielding a state in which anyone anywhere can play blackjack or poker or craps or bet on sports from anywhere — despite the fact that the state’s highest, supposedly inviolable legal document flatly says gambling is generally prohibited. We understand the arguments for permitting mobile gambling, but such arguments should focus on changing the Constituti­on, not openly defying it.

Last year, in the first year of mobile sports betting, people spent $16 billion on the pastime, a record for any state. It’s nice for the state to pocket nearly $700 million in taxes, and it’ll be nice to generate more. But if words and laws mean anything, none of this should be allowed.

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