New York Sports Betting: Start Spreadin’ the News?

Jay Dieffenbach

The state of mobile sports betting in the state of New York may be moving closer to implementation, even as the deadline for the state’s fiscal-year budget passed.

The impact of legalizing online sports wagering in New York is seen as perhaps the biggest development for the emerging U.S. sports betting industry since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in May 2018 to overturn the federal ban on single-event wagering.

New York political leaders continued to discuss options, and a solution had gained considerable momentum on Thursday afternoon, according to Sports Handle.

The signs of hope were seen and heard into Friday as reports began to circulate that cooperation was underway.

The sticking point between Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and some in the New York Legislature centered on the sportsbook operators.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., the chair of the New York Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow were backing a drive for a more competitive model with multiple skins, similar to that operation in New Jersey.

Under that plan, the landscape would be competitive and could include such operators as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and more.

Cuomo has stood behind a single-entity, lottery-run system – similar to Rhode Island’s and New Hampshire’s current systems for online sports betting.

The single-platform provider is not as attractive to bettors because of a limitation on choices and variety of wagering but, according to revenue projections, does bring the states more money.

Sports Handle sources indicated that a potential agreement could be reached in principle over the next 24-36 hours.

The framework of the deal, apparently, includes the lottery model that also is said to be involving a commercial partnership between the New York Gaming Commission and one or more sportsbook operators.

It was initially unclear how many operators could be allowed into the marketplace.

Cuomo, the embattled three-term governor, promoted the idea of his state becoming the largest market for sports betting in the nation once legislation is passed.

His formal outline in January projected as much as $500 million annually would come to the state when the market reaches maturity.

Over the first year of mobile sports betting, a partial year, it is projected to generate less than $50 million to the state, prior to a step-up to $357 million by Fiscal Year 2023.

Those numbers were viewed skeptically, with evidence from New Jersey as a measuring stick. Cuomo’s numbers would vastly outpace those brought in by New Jersey from 2020 – and the Garden State’s revenues set several national records for legal sports betting.

“This is not a money-maker for private interests,” Cuomo said at the time during his State of the Budget address. “We want the actual revenue from the sports betting.”

A spokesperson for Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request from Sports Handle for comment.

The Specific Providers’ Status Remained up in the Air.

Language in the proposed fiscal year 2022 executive budget noted the state would issue a request for proposals for a platform provider. Providers would only be eligible if they have a current partnership with at least one of the existing licensed commercial casinos in New York.

DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers and Bet365 all have partnerships with existing licensed commercial casinos.

The 2022 fiscal year budget was still being discussed in Albany.

There were discussions about an Easter Sunday vote, but no clear timeline for approval has been given.

Dan Clark, host of New York NOW, a weekly PBS television show on New York politics and government, reported a vote would not be observed on Easter and there is mounting pressing to approve the budget by Saturday:

“As of (Thursday) night, the latest prediction I heard from multiple lawmakers and legislative sources is that voting would begin today on at least some of the budget bills, with a goal to wrap up sometime tomorrow (Saturday).”

Several more bills were to be introduced Friday, according to Clark, voting will take place in some fashion. It was uncertain which bills are to be introduced.

There were more Hurdles put up, However, with a Late Push to Include State Tribes.

On Thursday, Sen. Joseph A. Griffo (R-Rome) called for the sports-betting discussion to remain without a vote if it did not include access to tribal nations in upstate New York.

A release says that, under the Oneida Indian Nation’s agreement, gaming that doesn't go through the Oneida Nation cannot take place in the Nation’s exclusivity zone.

It’s a fair distinction, given that if either sports betting bill were to be passed, those living in Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego and Otsego would be prohibited from participating in mobile sports betting.

Griffo called for an inclusive sports betting bill to include all New Yorkers:

“Cutting out major parts of Upstate New York from participating in mobile betting is terrible public policy and would be unfair to these residents. If tribal nations are not incorporated into the state’s final bill, we would potentially be disenfranchising millions of New Yorkers from participating in mobile sports betting and from the economic benefits it generates.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., and Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon also issued a joint statement calling on inclusion of the 10 upstate counties in a sports betting bill.

More Articles You Might like

Latest on Betting News

As your fantasy football draft moves through the early rounds, you must carefully consider your choices. Several apparent no-brainers come with questions and drawbacks. We take a look at some of those options.