NY still hasn't embraced online sports betting
Being reasonable, focusing upon critical health issues, soaring unemployment and rising inner city crime, discussing online gambling is not high ranking upon New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's critical to-do list now. However, many would admit, it certainly would not hurt any of these issues and in-fact might indirectly help a few along the way. Here is some evidence why:
Online wagering has now reached operation in eighteen U.S. states, four shortly on the way and serious discussion in as many as ten others. It is debatable whether New York is included on the list, despite Governor Cuomo's "yeah, we'll get to it" posture. Since March, COVID-19 has been an incredible catalyst for online gambling around the globe, allowing for most all people to conveniently wager at-home under mandated state laws. Only until approximately July 1st were most allowed to return onsite to casino destinations as an option.
The New York Situation
Sports betting is currently legal in New York, but unlike neighboring New Jersey, which has established itself as the #1 online wagering state in the country, mobile wagering is prohibited. For context, bettors in New Jersey wagered $4.5 billion in 2019, with 84% (or $3.78 billion) occurring via mobile devices. Obviously, through the Coronavirus pandemic, those online category numbers increased percentage in New York's other border market, Pennsylvania and all other states, including New Jersey.
"I'm not giving up the fight," said New York State Sen. Joseph Abbaddo, who from day one of the U.S. reversal of PASPA has led the legislative charge within the state. Unfortunately, Abbaddo's numerous efforts to achieve online gaming have failed, thanks to legalization being restricted to four upstate land-based casinos.
Addabbo mentioned the money the state is spending battling COVID-19 creates a scenario where the state will be looking for new forms of revenue to plug the gap sooner rather than later. And if that leads to online sports betting being reconsidered, it will take 4-6 months to get up and running. As the clock ticks on with no definitive timetable creating vaccines or any progress, it sets up a mysterious 'Catch-22' scenario as why the governor won't move forward to beat upcoming state legislative deadlines.
New York Sports Betting – You Gotta Be There
Currently it is legal to wager on sports in the state of New York and amid its five intensely populated boroughs of New York City. The current state of the Coronavirus has added an extra dimension to the advantage neighboring New Jersey and even nearby Pennsylvania has enjoyed. Prior to the pandemic it has become a common occurrence for online wagering starved bettors to venture across the George Washington Bridge on Fall weekends to simply get within the New Jersey geolocation boundaries to wager upon NCAA and NFL football.
At this time, New York sports betting locations are limited to casinos. Legally, New Yorkers cannot yet place a sports bet at an off-track betting (OTB) facility. Currently the four "non-Native American casinos" in New York remained closed and have been since March 16th, adding to bettor frustration and unemployment for over 1,100 people. The Native American casinos have been allowed to open because they reside on sovereign land.
Assuming all casinos were open, here's a perspective on how far a person must travel to be on location to bet on sports at New York state casinos from Manhattan:
|Casino Sportsbook||NY Location||Distance from Manhattan|
|Resorts World Catskills||Monticello||91 miles|
|Tioga Downs Casino||Nichols||216|
|Yellow Brick Road||Chittenango||265|
|Del Lago Resort||Waterloo||276|
|Point Place Casino||Bridgeport||268|
|Akwesasane Mohawk Casino||Hogansburg||370|
It is also worthy to note that by far New York's largest casino entity, Resorts World at JFK Airport (OTB location), owned by casino monolith Genting does not host an onsite sportsbook.
Strictly Business or Strictly Personal?
Much of the delay has been speculated to a potential vendetta and deep feelings Governor Cuomo may still be harboring against two of the industry's giants, Draft Kings and FanDuel. Cuomo once lost an earlier battle to have each of these Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) companies ruled illegal, while both currently offer it today. Governor Cuomo eventually did sign the law in August 2016, which ruled that daily DFS contests are not a form of gambling. There were rumors that Cuomo was going to veto that bill, but he did not. Since that time DK and FanDuel both dominate online wagering in surrounding states.
It could also be Cuomo's deep political ties and loyal relationships to those who own these casino entities will not 100% directly benefit from new online wagering. Whatever the reason (or excuse), numerous legislative priorities with COVID-19 at the top have pushed the issue into 2021, at the earliest.
A New York Bettor Online Choice
Football season is about to kickoff, baseball is on the board, the Stanley Cup is underway, and the NBA playoffs are in action (we hope). What is a New York online bettor to do?
For the foreseeable near future, it is either plan a long road trip, waste a lot of bridge toll money, or take a serious look at the list of preferred offshore sportsbooks to make a reasonable decision where to wager. All are offering generous introductory sign-up bonuses or incentives for current customers.
We will prioritize our hope and prayers for a vaccine ASAP to protect all Americans, including those people living in the state of New York. Until then, it wouldn't hurt for Governor Cuomo to realize nobody needs a protective mask at home to wager a few bucks on the Yankees or the Jets. And I don't think the extra tax dollars rollin' into Albany will make anyone ill either.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.