New York State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow announced last week that a bill is in the works to allow legalized in-person gambling in New York in certain venues like Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium. The bill is currently being drafted and Assemblyman Pretlow is confident that the bill will gain traction. New York is hoping to join Washington D.C. as another major sports city to allow in-stadium sports betting. Washington, D.C. approved gambling at stadiums and arenas in December, but it has yet to be implemented.
However, not all state official share Assemblyman Pretlow’s optimism. According to New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo he believes that sports betting will be rolled out over the next few years. Senator Addabbo cautions that moving too fast may lead to issues with the integrity of sports betting and the games themselves. He has also stressed that protecting the consumer is of the utmost importance. Therefore, the Senator does not believe that sports betting, in any form, will be coming to the Empire State any time soon.
Part of the delay in bringing sports gambling to New York is the issue of mobile betting. Reportedly, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state officials have contended that the New York state constitution would likely have to be amended in order for mobile betting to become legal. However, Assembly Pretlow has spoken out and recently saying that the governor has changed his opinion vis-à-vis amending the New York state constitution.
Whether or not the New York state constitution has to be amended to allow mobile sports gambling is a key issue in the state and the future of sports betting in New York. If the state constitution has to be amended, then this process could take upwards of two years or more. If so, then mobile gaming won’t be a reality in New York until at least 2021 – at the earliest.
On a more positive note, four casinos located in upstate New York have thus far been granted licenses to offer sports betting. At this point, all that is needed for sports betting to go live in these casinos is the final regulatory approval from the state’s gaming commission. It is estimated that these casinos may be ready for sports betting by the summer.
At the end of the day, there is room for optimism for sport betting in the Empire State because legalization would lead to tremendous profits for the state. For instance, last year in neighboring New Jersey, sports gamblers placed almost $400 million in sports bets. New York has the chance to greatly exceed these types of numbers. Therefore, there is still hope, in the long term for a sports gambling in New York. In the short-term, in-person wagering at select sporting arenas may be a distinct possibility come next season.