Mafia bosses shouldn’t be the only ones profiting from New Yorkers’ billion-dollar-a-year gambling habit. The state deserves a cut, too, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said yesterday.
Hynes, a Democrat running for a fifth term in a hotly contested race, called for the state to legalize all sports betting – even as he announced the Super Bowl Sunday arrest of 12 alleged bookies.
The dozen New York City men were charged with running mob-backed illegal gambling rings that pulled in more than $100 million a year, Hynes said.
“This is a cash cow for organized crime,” Hynes said. “This is not a victimless crime.”
Illegal gambling yields $15 billion to $30 billion a year in the city and about $100 billion nationwide, Hynes said.
Hynes said the state could encourage safe gambling practices if sports bets were legal. Nevada, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Montana all have legalized sports gambling.
The legalized-betting stance is new for Hynes, who is facing six Democratic challengers in his bid for reelection.
Opponents argue it would put more people in debt. And sports officials have repeatedly argued against state-sponsored gambling, claiming it tarnishes the reputation of the sport involved.
Even if the state Legislature signed off …