Sports betting — at least in a limited form — is coming to New York in 2019. Just how widely it is available remains in question.
NY sports betting became possible for the four commercial NY casinos in 2013; the federal ban was struck down in the US Supreme Court in 2018, allowing the state to move ahead.
The state’s gaming commission has approved rules for sports betting, which could start as soon as the summer of 2019. The state is also considering legalization of online sports wagering in the capitol, but the prospects of that happening are very much in doubt.
New York Sports Betting 2019: Current Status
Where can I bet on sports in NY?
Presumably, the NY sports betting market will start with the four commercial casinos. They’re the only venues already approved to take wagers by law. They are:
- Tioga Downs, Nichols
- del Lago Resort & Casino, Waterloo
- Rivers Casino and Resort, Schenectady
- Resorts World Catskills, Monticello
Tioga Downs Casino was the first of the four commercial casinos to open. The Nichols-area property opened for business as a full casino in December 2016.
The sprawling property grew out of a small horsetrack and video lottery terminal parlor. However, a $134 million expansion undertaken shortly after receiving its license left those humble roots far behind.
Tioga Downs will offer sports betting as soon as New York allows the four casinos to do so. Its owner, Jeff Gural, also owns Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey, home of FanDuel Sportsbook. Needless to say, FanDuel will also run the operations at Tioga Downs when the time comes.
del Lago Resort & Casino
del Lago opened its doors in February 2017 as the second New York commercial casino. It is the largest of the four commercial casinos, and is located in the town of Waterloo.
Unlike Tioga Downs, del Lago did not grow out of an existing racetrack or other facility. However, its size is likely due to its nearest competitor.
The massive Turning Stone Casino is just down the road from del Lago. Turning Stone, which is owned and operated by the Oneida Indian Nation, is the oldest casino in the state and offers a whopping 122,000 square feet of gaming space.
So, it would not do for del Lago to be a small affair. It offers 94,000 square feet of gaming area for patrons.
That area will soon include a sportsbook. del Lago has already partnered with DraftKings to run its operation once the state gives the green light.
Rivers Casino and Resort Schenectady
Rivers Casino Schenectady opened for business a week after fellow commercial casino del Lago. The $330 million property began accepting wagers in February 2017.
Rivers Casino Schenectady is the centerpiece of a large redevelopment site. The $480 million Mohawk Harbor Redevelopment Project is seeking to repurpose the American Locomotive Company site along the Schenectady waterfront.
Rivers Casino, like other similarly-named properties, is owned and operated by Pennsylvania gambling operator Rush Street Interactive. Naturally, Rush Street will use its own platform to run sports betting when New York decides to let it operate.
Resorts World Catskills
Finally, Resorts World Catskills is the fourth and newest commercial casino to open. The Monticello-area casino is also the most expensive of the four, coming with a $1.2 billion price tag.
In fact, Resorts World Catskills has only been open for just over a year. Its doors swung open in February 2018.
Many area residents and planners have pinned their hopes on RWC to bolster its geographic area, which has suffered from a weakening tourism industry in recent years. It remains to be seen if the new property will have that effect, but there are already some concerns that the market is oversaturated.
However, sports betting has the potential to add a whole new dimension to the property’s profitability. So, Resorts World Catskills has already secured a strategic partner for sports betting. Once sports betting becomes legal, European operator bet365 will help to backstop the operations at RWC.
Other places in NY?
Elsewhere, lawmakers are working to extend sports betting to other NY gambling stakeholders, including racetracks, racinos, off-track betting parlors, and Native American tribal casinos. However, all efforts to expand the existing law have come up short so far.
It does appear the tribal casinos will also be able to have sportsbooks, based on their compacts with the state.
Will mobile/internet sports betting be available in NY?
Mobile/internet sports betting will not be available in NY for the time being, unless the legislature.
As written, the existing law only permits on-site sports betting at the state’s four commercial casinos. Preliminary rules are currently in a 60-day public comment period. If everything goes as planned, the four casinos and tribal casinos can begin taking wagers in time for the 2019 NFL season.
The state has an existing online horse betting industry, and remote betting in nearby states provides an incentive to keep pace. It’d be a disaster if NY residents were ducking across the border to make legal, mobile wagers in PA or NJ.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked about potentially making online sports betting part of the state budget. However, lawmakers failed to include mobile wagering in the final budget plan which was submitted on April 1. For now, NY residents must wait to see if a stand-alone bill can make it through the state legislature.
The legislative session ends on June 19.
Legal climate for NY sports betting
Until recently, Nevada was the only state with fully legal sports betting.
The US Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992, which essentially froze existing laws in time. Nevada was allowed to keep doing its thing, while other states were prohibited from legalizing or regulating sports betting in perpetuity.
Decades later, New Jersey became discontent with the prohibition and challenged it with a new law. What followed was a years-long legal battle against five sports leagues and the Department of Justice, escalating all the way to the US Supreme Court.
On May 14, 2018, the court ruled 6-3 that PASPA was unconstitutional, striking the ban down in full. States are now free to legalize (or prohibit) sports betting independently, without federal interference.
A few are already taking advantage of the opportunity. Eight states, including nearby New Jersey, are already offering sports betting in some form to their residents and visitors.
Unfortunately, New York’s lawmakers have struggled to find consensus. As a result, the debut of sports betting sometime in the next few months will be both later and of a smaller scale than some had hoped.
How big is the NY sports betting market?
The American Gaming Association estimates Americans bet $154 billion on sports in 2016. At the time, they wagered nearly all of that money through illegal channels, like personal bookies and offshore websites.
Based upon per-capita rates of betting, New York’s 19.75 million residents likely bet around $9.38 billion on sports in 2016.
Daily fantasy sports in New York
Daily fantasy sports is legal and regulated in New York.
On Aug. 3, 2016, the state enacted a law that allows DFS sites to serve the New York population. Major operators like DraftKings and FanDuel, which had previously been forced to abandon the state under an order from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, returned to the state.
A 2017 report from the NYS Gaming Commission showed DFS operators generated $18,621,700 in gross gaming revenue in New York from September 2016 through January 2017. In other words, they have averaged $3,724,340 each month.
The state collected 15 percent, or a total of $2,796,182, in taxes from DFS operators during that period.
Extrapolated estimates would put annual DFS revenues in New York at $44.6 million per year with taxes around $6.7 million.
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