Back in 2013, the state of New York passed a law to allow individuals to bet on sports at four on-site locations. After years of lying dormant, the law could be revived. The New York State Gaming Commission is preparing to complete regulations “in the short term” for the four locations specified in the 2013 law. Legislation that would have allowed for full-scale sports betting in New York failed in June 2018, but have been re-introduced in 2019.
New York’s long-running issue with fantasy sports gained steamed in 2018 too. On October 26, Acting Supreme Court Justice Gerald W. Connolly ruled that the state’s two-year-old daily fantasy sports law violated the state’s constitution. “The judge’s decision was unequivocal,” said Cornelius D. Murray, the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case, in a statement to ESPN.
“The ruling found that New York’s DFS law was unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.” In the wake of the ruling — which will likely be appealed by the state Attorney General –, both DraftKings and FanDuel confirmed that they would continue offering fantasy contests in the state.
The new budget in New York will create congestion charges and a mansion tax, but it won’t expand sports betting. Early Sunday morning, the legislature came together on a $175 billion spending package for the upcoming fiscal year. According to the New York Times, the budget Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved mostly meets its objectives.
“This is the best budget that has been produced since I’ve been governor,” Cuomo boasted post-passage. Provisions to legalize recreational marijuana use and online sports betting, however, ran into the red pen. Lawmakers ultimately omitted both controversial issues from their final package.
Mobile Betting in New York Fail by A Long Shot.
Serious efforts to expand the existing NY sports betting law have been underway for the better part of a year. Most recently, these budget negotiations appeared to open another narrow window of opportunity. The state constitution is the critical hurdle to such a legislative effort, though. New York law stipulates that voters must approve any expansion of gambling, as they did previously for the commercial casinos upstate.
That 2013 referendum also included authorization for in-person sports betting, a clause which the 2018 US Supreme Court decision activated. While NY senators have worked to legislate mobile betting in the time since they’ve yet to assemble enough support make passage a real possibility. The chief executive is the chief opponent. Cuomo maintains that another referendum is the only constitutional path to expansion.
New Jersey A Better Option for NY Bettors
The omission of mobile betting is a kick in the shins for the struggling commercial casinos — and companies like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Both have agreements in place to run retail sportsbooks in NY, but both are mobile-first operators in practice. In neighboring New Jersey, mobile wagering represents more than 80% of the total NJ sports betting handle.
For the time being, in-person sports betting will remain the only legalized form of sports betting in New York. Preliminary rules are progressing through a 60-day public comment period so that the first NY sportsbooks could open in time for NFL season.
The four new commercial properties and existing tribal casinos are the only ones that can offer sports betting under the law. None of them are closer than a two-hour drive from the center of New York City, so the majority of NY bettors are likely to keep visiting NJ sportsbooks — and using NJ sports betting apps. The FanDuel Sportsbook at MetLife stadium that sits just across the river from Manhattan.
Hope floats for mobile; chances still slim
Though small, a glimmer of hope for NY mobile betting remains this year. The legislature keeps working in Albany until late June, and standalone bills like S 1490 stay on file. Last month, sponsors distributed legal opinions to support their notion that they can legally authorize mobile betting.
Such legislation, the views argue, would not represent a new and unlawful expansion of gambling. State lawmakers are less convinced than their colleagues in the Senate, though, and the budget miss does not bode well. If all else fails, the legislature may initiate a referendum to begin that arduous two-year process before adjournment. The spring work session ends on June 19.
It appears that the state of New York’s government officials tend to fight over what is morally right similar to how leaders clash in southern/mid-western parts of the country. It’s very odd that a state such as New York which has the largest city in America, New York City, battle over the right to conduct sports betting. I believe that once lawmakers on both sides agree to disagree, then other sports betting options such as DraftKings and Fan Duel will finally be able to take hold in the Empire State.