I only found out about this absurd law last year, and I just saw this tweet, which made my blood boil as both a horse player and a lawyer:
This is such incredible bullshit it's not even funny. When I saw this last year, I did a little research into the law itself. I found out that New York State, generally allows casino gambling, but not horse gambling on Easter. Now, I fully understand that Easter is a holy day for some. That's great, you should celebrate the day however you choose. For others it is a regular old Sunday. And for some, it's a day to play the Daily Double at Gulfstream. The fact that I cannot wager on horse racing is not an issue of gambling. It is an issue of freedom.
We live in a secular nation which does not impose religious beliefs on its people. That is one of our core principles as a nation. Separation of church and state is not just a belief, it is the law as established by the United States Supreme Court.
“The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.”--Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947)
That's pretty unambiguous. What New York State has done here is express a preference for christian beliefs. They have taken away my ability to wager on horses on Easter, but not on Ramadan? Not on Yom Kippur? That is an explicit state preference for one religion over another and it is unconstitutional in my view.
The only comparison is "blue law" which regulate alcohol laws in some states on Sundays. While those laws certainly are driven by religion, they don't explicitly demonstrate a preference for one religion over another, which is why this law blows my mind. The fact that New York state still has this on the books is a shame and it is only still there because nobody will spend the money to challenge it in court.
As an American I don't like my rights being trampled on by the state. Rock, Flag and Eagle. I don't know what I'm going to do about this (probably nothing), but New York state needs to get this thing right. Make sure you get your racing bets in today if you're in the Empire State because tomorrow is dark.