The sports betting situation in New York is one of the most frustrating stories in the US gaming scene. New Yorkers continue not to be able to wager on sporting events in their home state, even as nearby states revel in newfound riches and freedom.
However, New York appears to be heading in the right direction.
The New York State Gaming Commission recently approved preliminary rules and regulations to allow sports betting at the states four commercial casinos and tribal gaming facilities.
Since the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), states around the US have been scrambling to get their sports betting ducks in a row. Wisely, legislators in many states have seen the potential of collecting taxes on billions of dollars in revenue.
However, New York’s Assembly has failed time and again to pass a meaningful law in the nation’s fourth most populous state. Once again renewed efforts are underway to get a law passed to permit mobile and online wagering. Even with a law on the books that opens the door to sports wagering, New York residents must cross state lines to gamble on their favorite teams until at least the end of 2019.
Where can I bet on sports in New York?
Nowhere just yet. However, the New York State Gaming Commission plans to have final rules and regulations in a little over two months. Preliminary rules were approved on Jan. 28.
Isn’t sports betting legal in New York, though?
Yes, it is. However, legalizing sports betting in any state is a two-step process.
Obviously, the voters and/or representatives in the state must pass a law to legalize the activity. New York did that in 2013, authorizing the state’s four commercial casinos to offer sports betting.
The law’s effect depended on the revocation of the federal ban, which evaporated in May 2018. However, the second step of the process is the establishment of the regulatory environment, and here is where New York is delayed.
The gaming commission’s main concerns surround mobile wagering. The 2013 law passed prior to the advent of device-based betting, and the law requires that a bettor physically wager inside approved facilities.
So, New York’s Assembly needs to pass an amendment to clarify the law. However, the body failed to do so in 2018. Lawmakers have already introduced a sports betting bill for the 2019 legislative session.
Well, hypothetically, where could I bet sports in New York?
The law states that sports betting can occur at commercial gaming facilities. So, once the commission hammers out the regulatory mess, four casinos can apply for sports betting licenses. They are:
- Del Lago Resort & Casino
- Resorts World Catskills
- Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady
- Tioga Downs Casino
All four of those properties have some manner of sports betting plans. In June 2018, Tioga Downs, which is owned by the same group behind Meadowlands Racetrack, reached a partnership deal with FanDuel for retail and online sports betting.
Additionally, Resorts World Catskills has a partnership in place with bet365 while Rivers Casino has partnered with Rush Street Interactive. So, the operators are ready to go – everyone’s just waiting on the regulators.
Who will be eligible to bet on sports in New York?
Anyone inside state lines and over the age of 21 will be able to bet sports in New York.
Can I bet on anything sports-related in New York?
Actually, yes. Daily fantasy sports betting is legal in the Empire State.
Despite notorious court battles with the two industry leaders, New York allows its inhabitants to play DFS freely. In fact, both FanDuel and DraftKings count New York as their second-highest grossing states for DFS.
How did we get here in New York?
Amazingly, New York’s history of trying to legalize sports betting in the state reaches into the previous decade. The first New York sports betting bill appeared in 2009.
We’re still not there on sports betting. Casino gambling itself navigated the minefield in 2013, with voters authorizing four non-tribal casinos for the state.
However, sports betting and online poker remain out of reach. Here’s the timeline for gambling’s slow, jagged progress in the Empire State:
State Sen. Eric Adams introduces the first sports betting bill in New York history. The bill would allow in-state horsetracks and OTB facilities to offer wagers on other professional sports.
The bill would’ve allocated revenue for residents near the betting locations. However, the bill died in committee.
Two years later, Adams re-introduced a new version of the same bill. This time, his bill found support in the form of a companion bill in the Assembly.
Assemblyman Mark Weprin‘s A 10464 used the same language as the Senate bill, but opened the possibility of wagering on collegiate events as well. More importantly, the bill introduced the notion of the four commercial casinos in the state offering sports wagering.
In response, state Sen. Tony Avella introduced S 7401, which matched Weprin’s bill exactly. All three bills failed to move past committee but they reappeared in 2013.
2013 was a critical year for New York gambling. Voters approved a bill to bring the aforementioned commercial casinos into reality.
The referendum also allowed the new casinos to offer sports betting. However, at that time, the presence of PASPA did not allow the casinos to proceed with wagering on sports.
The four legal casinos began opening in 2017. The last of the four, and the largest, Resorts World Catskills, opened in February 2018.
After the momentous changes in 2013, Avella and Weprin continued to introduce bills to legalize sports betting at horsetracks and OTB facilities. However, New York legislators turned their attention to daily fantasy sports, which were operating without oversight within the state.
Ultimately, state attorney general Eric Schneiderman ordered the two largest DFS operators, DraftKings and FanDuel, to cease and desist. In doing so, he referred to DFS as sports betting, and thus illegal under federal law.
However, in 2016, DraftKings and FanDuel managed to reach a settlement with the state and paid an $8 million fine. In a rare happy ending for gambling, the state then passed a law to allow DFS.
Avella and Weprin’s bills began to take on the appearance of insanity. Once again, the two bills died in committee.
The current year has proved critical for sports betting in the United States. The May demise of PASPA unleashed all 49 states to pursue their own sports wagering frameworks.
However, New York continues to drag its feet. It’s possible that the commission is lost in the details of the situation, but regardless, there is no green light without a regulatory scheme.
There will be no sports betting in 2018 in New York. Hopefully, the government gets its act together soon.
The New York State Gaming Commission approved preliminary rules and regulations to govern sports betting on Jan. 28. The regulations now enter a 60-day review period.
Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow plan on joining forces to ensure mobile and online wagering become part of the final rules and regulations. Both Addabbo and Pretlow are chairman of their respected gaming commission — Addabbo in the Senate and Pretlow in the House.