It seems that sports betting in New York may actually become a reality after all. Legal sports betting may be hitting the market this fall, although it is not a guarantee. However, if it does end up becoming a reality, mobile sports betting may actually come with it.
Lawmakers in New York have about a month to figure out all of the details associated with legalizing sports betting. This past Wednesday, there was a public hearing in Albany to discuss any and all ideas on sports betting.
The public hearing was presided over by Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., who co-sponsored the bill along with Assemblyman Gary Pretlow. The way the bill, S17, currently stands, sports betting would be allowed at both tribal casinos and commercial casinos.
Limited Betting Possible
If lawmakers don’t take action to legalize sports betting before they adjourn in June, New York could still have sports betting, but on a limited basis. The current law states that bets can be placed in person at sports lounges. Those are located at the four commercial casinos in upstate New York, as well as the state’s seven Indian casinos.
So far only the Oneidas, who have three casinos, is the only Indian nation that has announced any plans to operate sports books.
The State Gaming Commission has proposed a set of rules for operating and licensing those potential sports lounges. The comment period for those rules ends May 20. Assuming there are no changes, the gaming commission would then start the licensing process.
Mobile Betting Question
The biggest question that still remains for New York relates to mobile betting, which is currently prohibited under state law. Governor Andrew Cuomo and some of his advisors believe that for New York to allow for mobile betting, it will require an amendment to the state Constitution. However, other leaders within the state, such as Pretlow and Addabbo, believe that an amendment is not necessary.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Chris Grove, a gaming expert from the gaming market research firm Eilers & Krejcik, testified. He said that a “mature” New York sports betting market would generate more than $1 billion in gaming revenue per year. A mature market means the inclusion of mobile wagering. But without mobile betting, the brick-and-mortar only sports books would produce just $48.3 million per year.
Addabbo pointed out that the state of New York is losing a lot of revenue, especially in the New York City area, to neighboring states that offer mobile sports betting. New York bettors can take their phones or other mobile devices and head across the border into New Jersey, where mobile betting is legal, and place their bets. Unfortunately for New York, time is becoming more of a factor as Pennsylvania will soon be launching their mobile operations. That will draw even more New York residents to out-of-state mobile wagering.