When winning operators eventually take over legalized online sports betting in New York, NY State Senator Joe Addabbo wants betting on horse racing to be included.
“That’s the next step for me,” Addabbo told PlayNY last week. “I have to have someone have the ability to bet the Mets, Jets, Yankees, Rangers, Islanders, whatever they want, and then the fifth race at Saratoga.
“Our initial vision that (former) Gov. Cuomo didn’t quite care for was rolling out, over two or three years, racetracks, OTBs, stadiums, arenas and kiosks. I still want to do that. And hopefully, I can get to work with Gov. Hochul and see that we can expand mobile sports betting to what it really should be in our state.”
Current Horse Betting Options
It’s an initiative that is both fascinating and potentially complicated.
Currently, New Yorkers can bet on horse racing online at FanDuel Racing, Twinspires, Amwager NY, NYRABets, BetAmerica and Hollywood Races. They can also bet at the race tracks themselves, including Belmont Park, Saratoga, Yonkers and Aqueduct.
The NY State Gaming Commission is currently in the process of selecting winning bidders for coveted licenses. That must be done before Dec. 6, with the hope that online sports can finally be up and running the state by late January or Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022.
Industry experts believe the favorites to secure licenses are a pair of “super bids.” The first includes FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Ballys. The second includes Caesars, PointsBet, Resorts World, WynnBET and Bet Rivers.
Officials have openly expressed concern about the long-term viability of horse racing, and whether they will be able to garner interest from the younger generation. Adding an online horse betting option on apps with other sports betting options could help in that regard.
In the meantime, fans continue to flock to Saratoga. Over the summer, following the coronavirus pandemic, the racecourse generated a record $815.5 million in handle. The previous mark was $705.3 million, established in 2019.
Online Gaming Also On Addabbo’s Docket
Also on the agenda for Addabbo come January budget meetings: iGaming, including online poker and casino games.
Online poker hasn’t been legal in New York since Black Friday in 2011.
“New Jersey just killed it with that, especially during Covid,” Addabbo said. “If Covid puts a spotlight on anything it’s that people want to stay inside yet still have a good time.
“(NJ’s) numbers were up 120-150% from the prior year, and I think that’s a place where we can be. And to tell my colleagues who have a credible apprehension to expanding this, we have the technology of putting protocols in place and safeguards in place to protect against minors using these apps, against the addiction and capping accounts. We can do that. We can do it safely and expand it, we can realize the revenue. So I think the next step, and I will talk about this during the next budget meetings starting in January, is iGaming.”