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The way we watch and follow sports could be changing forever. That's how big Monday's Supreme Court decision that ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional.

Imagine being able to legally bet on football this fall. Imagine laying down a five-team parlay or taking the over. Imagine the first weekend of March Madness.

The fantasy may become reality in New York but like anything state government is involved in, it will take some time before sports gambling is available.

But it's coming, I'll bet the house on it. Why? Because New Jersey is already in the process of taking bets by the end of THIS month. New Jersey had filed the lawsuit against PASPA and the infrastructure has been set up. Monmouth Park Racetrack, the first facility to offer sports betting, is about a two-hour drive from New York City.

It's only a matter of time before New Jersey will have sports betting facilities closer to New York. Does anyone imagine that New York officials want to see its residents crossing state lines and betting in New Jersey?

New York already has a bill that will lay the foundation for sports betting, the question is will it pass before the Legislature adjourns in June? Unless a special session is held, the soonest this bill could be passed is some time next year.

The Oneida Nation, which operates Turning Stone and two other casinos in our region, said they will start offering sports betting "soon." Soon to me sounds like the start of football in September.

If I was del Lago or any of the other non-Indian casinos in New York, I would not be happy that my competition has an advantage that will cost me millions of dollars.

Really, if New York really wanted to pass a sports betting law, they could do it in a month. Heck, Gov. Andrew Cuomo got the SAFE Act passed pretty quick. Obviously gun control is a more serious topic than sports betting but it shows that a bill can become law fast if Albany really wants it.

The next question is if Turning Stone is offering sports betting, will you be able to do it on your phone and not have to drive to one of their casinos (in Bridgeport, Chittenango and Verona). If the Oneidas are able to offer mobile wagering to anyone in New York, it's going to be crazy.

Whenever New York gets its act together and legalizes sports betting, the next question is where it will be available.

Other than the casinos like del Lago, will a bettor be able to use their phone to place a wager? Or will they have to go to OTB (like we have on North Street) to bet?

Could we see something like Quick Draw where you can place a bet in restaurants, bars or bowling alleys?

For all of this talk about placing bets, it has to be mentioned that legalized sports gambling has the ability to ruin lives.

Like any vice, in moderation, there is nothing wrong with gambling within your means. If you can afford to lose $100 a week betting on football and it doesn't affect your ability to provide for your family, then go ahead.

We have bingo and casino gambling within short drives of Cayuga County. For most people, it's a way to have fun. But for some, gambling is an addiction. Making sports betting legal is going to affect some people's lives and for the worse. That cannot be denied. We can only hope gambling addicts realize they have a problem and get help.

Ultimately, the genie is out of the bottle. For better or for worse, legal sports betting is coming and it's unlikely it will be stopped.

Sciria, The Citizen's assistant news editor, can be reached at chris.sciria@lee.net or on Twitter @csciria

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