Is New York Online Sports Betting Closer to a Deal?

New York online sports betting has been in contention for years. While sports betting is already legal in the state, an omission in the original sports betting bill left online sports betting out. However, there is no doubt that New York online sports betting will become a reality sooner rather than later.

In-person sports betting is already legal at the four upstate casinos, Tioga Downs, Rivers Casino, Resorts World Catskills, and Del Lago. Sports betting lounges are also available in the full-service tribal casinos operated by the Oneida, Akwesasne Mohawk, and Seneca tribes.

There is a very good chance that online sportsbooks will launch in the Empire State by the end of the year. Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Carl Heastie, recently conducted a survey of assembly members on whether they’d support the legalization of online and mobile sports betting. To back that up, Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow has secured 85 votes to pass an online and mobile sports betting bill; that’s nine more than the minimum 76 votes needed to pass a bill through the chamber.

New York Online Sports Betting is a Constitutional Crisis

As recently as last month, Speaker Heastie pushed Governor Andrew Cuomo to approve a state constitutional amendment that would allow mobile sportsbooks to operate in the state.

However, even if Speaker Heastie and other proponents of New York online sports betting are victorious, it will not be available immediately. A signed mobile sports betting bill will only set the process in motion.

A longtime proponent of New York mobile sports betting, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, hopes to get everything in place in time to place bets on the Super Bowl.

“It takes some time to get the regulations in place, set up the equipment, get everything all set up,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo. “I hope that if we do it now, maybe by the Super Bowl or March Madness, we’re ready.”

Admittedly, this is an optimistic timeline for a full-scale launch of online and mobile sports betting in New York. However, launching in time for the Super Bowl or March Madness would quickly add much-needed tax revenue into the state’s coffers.

It’s important to remember that until a New York online sports betting bill is signed into law by Governor Cuomo, it’s all just talk.

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New York Will Restrict the Number of Online Sportsbooks

If New York online sports betting becomes a reality, what will it look like? While neighboring New Jersey is a good model for online sports betting, New York’s plan differs from New Jersey.

The proposed bill calls for the four current sportsbooks at the upstate casinos to partner with only one mobile sportsbook platform.

By comparison, in New Jersey, operators can partner with up to three mobile platforms. New Jersey has more casinos and more mobile sportsbooks, and that’s one reason why mobile sportsbooks in New Jersey have been so successful.

If and when New York online sports betting becomes a reality, New Yorkers will have four choices, FanDuel, DraftKings, Bet365, and BetRivers.

More importantly, this limitation also restricts the potential tax revenue the state desperately needs. It’s also expected that New York state will levy huge licensing fees and taxes on mobile sportsbooks.

“In an environment where teachers, schools and other essential services desperately need cash to keep running, FanDuel, DraftKings and Rivers Casino are pushing for regulations that leave more than $100 million that could go the state on the table the first year, and more than $50 million each following year,” an anonymous industry insider remarked. “They don’t have the best interests of New York or New Yorkers in mind.”

Legalizing New York online sports betting by the end of the year, however flawed, will be welcomed by both New York bettors and the state’s tax collectors alike.

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