Sportsbooks Opening In New York?

November 24, 2017
NY Legislature Building

New York is one of the states already prepared to offer sports betting should the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) be stricken down. The state passed legislation in 2013 that supports legal sports wagering. However, it now appears that NY is apprehensive because commercial casinos with sports betting would likely affect the profits of horse racing tracks and racinos.

Despite being part of the 2 states (Pennsylvania being the other) to have fully fledged sports betting laws, New York hasn’t made much noise regarding sports gambling. Connecticut and Mississippi have begun the legislative process of implementing sports betting, but they are nowhere near the status of NY. The New York State Gaming Commission has not come out on record in full support of regulated sports betting, demonstrating a more tepid approach than Pennsylvania has taken.

Senator John Bonacic, a champion of gambling reform in the state, stated his concerns over expanding on sports betting, mainly because not all gambling establishments would be able to offer it. It seems silly that the state would be worried about their racinos and off-track betting sites, but New York appears to be attempting to foster some sense of equal competition.

According to the 2013 law, there are 4 commercial casino locations in the state that will be authorized to offer regulated sports betting. These are the del Lago Resort and Casino, Tioga Downs Casino, Rivers Casino and Resort Schenectady and Resorts World Catskills. None of the other gambling establishments, including Tribal casinos and horse tracks, would be authorized to allow betting. For Tribal casinos, state compacts would have to be renegotiated, which would be a very tedious process. In order for there to be betting in the state’s race tracks, which are considered precious commodities, an amendment would have to be made to the 2013 law. This would also be a tedious process.

NY bettors can find legally licensed betting sites through licensed offshore sportsbooks. These sportsbooks offer betting lines on the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA and international leagues. For local residents, they provide the only viable way to legally bet on sports until the aforementioned casinos are able to provide sports betting options. Residents are free to use these online sportsbooks, as they fall outside US jurisdiction and are legally licensed and regulated.

New York, like Pennsylvania, must wait on the outcome of the ongoing New Jersey sports betting case with the US Supreme Court. If they are worried about how sports betting will affect their racetracks, they should move to address the problem sooner or later. If PASPA is repealed, New York will be scrambling to amend their current legislation to allow more places to offer sports gambling. The smart move would be to fix this issue now before sports betting is completely legalized.