Sports Betting Coming To New York, But Mobile Will Have To Wait

New York is one step closer to legal sports betting…. with a big caveat that it would only be at four casinos upstate, and not online, yet.

The New York State Gaming Commission voted on Monday to preliminarily approve regulations for sports betting at four private, commercial casinos upstate. Those four poreprties are del Lago in Seneca County, Tioga Downs in Tioga County, Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County, and Rivers Casino in Schenectady County.

There will now be a 60-day public comment period plus other procedural steps before the regulations may be implemented. The earliest New Yorkers could start plunking down wagers at the four spots is roughly June. Once the rules are finalized, sports betting will also be authorized at the seven Native American-run casinos. At least one of those, the Turning Stone Resort, near Syracuse, has plans to introduce sports betting at its property.

Mobile wagering will have to wait

While it’s a win for (some) sports bettors in New York, mobile wagering still won’t be allowed in the state. A 2013 state law only allows for sports wagers from people who are “physically present” in the casinos.

A spokesman for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told Sports Handle that the office believes a constitutional amendment is needed to approve mobile sports betting in New York. The earliest that could happen is via ballot referendum in Nov. 2021. Some state lawmakers believe such a limitation may not exist, or at least will explore an end around.

DraftKings was still pushing hard last week for New York to add mobile wagering. The company urged its users playing DFS games in the state to write lawmakers and advise them to pass a mobile-betting law.

“Without your help, New York’s sports betting will be limited to the casinos very far away from where many New Yorkers live,” the company wrote.

DraftKings and FanDuel still well-positioned in New York

DraftKings and FanDuel were quick to set up sportsbooks in New Jersey and both will be well-positioned in New York, even without mobile betting. Del Lago Resort & Casino reached a deal with DraftKings to create an on-site sportsbook, and presumably online when regulations permit.

Tioga Downs has a deal in place with Paddy Power Betfair, which owns FanDuel. That means a FanDuel Sportsbook will enter the property and set up a retail sportsbook, as in New Jersey at the Meadowlands, then head online in New York, likewise, when regulations permit.

DraftKings and FanDuel got out to fast starts in New Jersey and Mississippi. Expect them to do the same in New York with their on-site casinos, giving them an edge once mobile wagering is approved.

New York missing out on mobile revenue

It will be interesting to see how long New York goes without mobile wagering. In neighboring New Jersey, online sports wagering represented more than 62% of the state’s $1.25 billion handle in 2018. In the month of December alone, 75.5% of the overall sports handle came from mobile wagering.

This limited rollout in 2019 will generate some revenue for the state, but New York will still missing out on a humongoues piece of the revenue pie without mobile wagering options. Mobile betting is likely to be legalized in New York, it may just have to wait until 2021.

In the interim, scores of New Yorkers will take short round trips into neighboring New Jersey to place their bets, then turn back around.

About the Author

  • Thomas Casale (tcasale)

  • Thomas Casale is the Editor of Sports Betting Content for RotoGrinders. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. Before coming to RotoGrinders, Thomas contributed to The Linemakers and worked as an editor at BetChicago. He's also provided fantasy sports analysis for multiple websites and print publications, while covering the NFL, college football, college basketball and MMA at different media outlets.