Start Spreading The News: NY Sports Betting Coming To Stay

Posted on June 11, 2019

While the debate to legalize online sports betting in New York continues, the land-based component is ready to roll.

On Monday, the New York State Gaming Commission gave final approval to the regulations and rules governing sports betting.

NY casinos are now free to get their land-based sportsbooks up and rolling to accept wagers on sporting events. While there is no official timeline for the launch of sports betting in New York, it shouldn’t take long for the casinos to apply for a license and implement their plans once approved.

Rivers Casino & Resort was quick to respond to the news, issuing a statement via email on Monday from acting general manager Justin Moore.

“We’re extremely pleased that sports betting regulations have been finalized and approved by the New York State Gaming Commission and are looking forward to introducing one of the first licensed sportsbooks in the state at Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. We anticipate opening the Rivers Sportsbook as soon as we receive approval from the NYSGC. Sports betting will be a tremendous complement to all that Rivers Casino has to offer.”

What about NY online sports betting?

While New York residents will soon be able to place bets at one of N.Y.’s upstate casinos, there is a possibility sports betting may expand beyond the casino floor in the future.  Other facilities could get in on the action as well, including:

  • Sporting event venues
  • Racetracks
  • Off-track betting sites

The latest proposal from Sen. Joseph Addabbo introduced concurrently with Assemblyman Gary Pretlow will make another attempt at legalizing mobile betting in the Empire State. It also reintroduces the affiliate program.

Through the proposal, the state’s racetracks and off-track betting sites could also offer legal sports betting via internet kiosks as affiliates of the state’s casinos. Madison Square Garden and Yankees Stadium would also be eligible to become affiliates if the bill were to become law.

This newest proposal isn’t without its critics, however, and the chorus of dissent is widespread.

Obstacles to legalizing online betting in NY

Some of the earliest criticisms came from the off-track betting sites and racetracks that Addabbo and Pretlow are trying to incorporate.

By allowing them to get in on sports betting but only as affiliates of the state’s casinos, the state’s casinos would hold all the power in those relationships. Off-track betting sites and racetracks would have to play by the rules set by the casinos and pay their asking prices to gain an affiliate license.

Another voice displeased with the proposal is Pegula Sports and Entertainment, which operates the KeyBank Center and New Era Field, where the Buffalo Sabres and Bills, respectively, play their home games.

The bill would not allow them to become affiliates because only sporting event facilities in counties where no off-track betting sites or racetracks exist are eligible. Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, would also be ineligible.

Though dissent from stakeholders is a significant concern for the future of Addabbo and Pretlow’s legislation, the biggest obstacle to legalizing mobile sports betting could be the governor’s mansion.

Where does Cuomo stand?

In a recent radio interview, Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared a belief that legalizing online betting in NY before the end of the current legislative term, which is just weeks away, is possible.

That was shortly followed by a contradictory statement from his administration. Cuomo said he believes an amendment to the state’s constitution is necessary to permit online betting. Those two views are at odds with each other.

Amending the state’s constitution would require a public referendum. Such a move would take at least three years. For the legislature to act on the issue before the end of the term, Cuomo will likely have to move off his stance.

For N.Y. to get the full financial benefit of sports betting, mobile betting must be legalized.

Even so, Monday’s news that casinos can begin the process to start accepting wagers is definitely a step in the right direction for the state.

Derek Helling Avatar
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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