Official Debut Of New York Sports Betting Is A Few Months Away

Posted on March 26, 2019 - Last Updated on March 28, 2019

Its been a long time coming, but New York sports betting is on the horizon.

Fox Business reported the NY State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) formally posted rules and regulations to govern sports betting at the four commercial casinos. The rules will also apply to several Indian-owned casinos that plan on offering sports betting.

A 60-day public comment period is in effect, meaning casinos could start taking wagers by Memorial Day weekend.

You can read the entire rules and regulations here.

NY mobile sports betting not included

In January, the NYSGC gave preliminary approval to regulations to govern sports betting ending months of tedious debate.

However, current rules only legalize wagering on-site at the four upstate casinos in Schenectady, the Catskills, Southern Tier, and the Finger Lakes region.

Gaming stakeholders might view the absence of mobile/online wagering as a missed opportunity. On the other hand, New Yorkers will soon be able to place wagers within the state border.

NY governor sends mixed reviews

The narrative will most certainly put Governor Andrew Cuomo on a path against lawmakers looking to legalize mobile wagering.

Key lawmakers including Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow continue to hold the position that a constitutional amendment is unnecessary to legalize mobile wagering.

Cuomo and his staff disagree.

In fact, in a recent interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Cuomo referred to the economic benefits New Jersey has seen from mobile wagering as a “rounding error in (New York).”

Here’s what Cuomo has to say:

“Sports betting, first of all, does not make you that much money. New Jersey has sports betting; it’s on TV all the time. You can’t turn on the darn TV without seeing it. They raised something like 13 million dollars — 13 million dollars is a rounding error in our state. So I don’t even think the economic benefit is there.”

More than 80 percent of NJ sports betting revenue in February came from mobile or online platforms.

The statements continue to question where Cuomo’s allegiances fall concerning mobile sports betting.

Cuomo included the authorization of sports betting in his agenda for the first 100 days of 2019 but didn’t add any revenue from the activity in his budget proposal. Sports betting was utterly erased from the 200-page Assembly review of the executive budget proposal.

NY lawmakers continue to build a case

But despite the fine line the governor appears to be walking, Addabbo continues to grow his case for online/mobile wagering.

Addabbo, chairman of the Senate Racing and Wagering Committee, has stealthily acquired five legal opinions from some of the top gaming law firms in the state.

These law firms are attempting to prove that Cuomo is mistaken. Mobile wagering does not require a constitutional amendment.

Speaking with Legal Sports Report, Addabbo said, “the constitutionality issue is closed. It’s a hurdle we can easily jump over.”

Here’s more from Addabbo:

“We have a number of independent law firms that have written briefs on how it would be constitutional. If we take a broad-but-correct interpretation of our current constitution, we can do sports betting in the four casinos with a mobile component.”

Finishing what it started

In 2013, lawmakers passed an amendment permitting NY sports betting at the four commercial casinos. What they failed to account for, is the impact mobile wagering would have on the sports betting landscape.

But according to Gibson Dunn, mobile wagering appears to fall under the 2013 amendment.

  • Mobile sports wagering fits comfortably within the contours of “casino gambling,” which the constitution authorizes the legislature to legalize and regulate.
  • Online sports wagering occurs “at” a casino “facility” because online sports wagers are made at the physical location of the server on which bets are received and accepted.

The latter might require a clear definition from the legislature. Does a sports wager officially take place once it’s processed at a server inside a casino? Or, is it when an individual that’s miles away places a bet on their smartphone within the comfort of their home?

Regardless, some residents have been patiently waiting on the arrival of sports betting. If all goes according to plan, within three months, the first bets will be placed.

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five-year stint in Chicago, where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.

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