New York State Gaming Commission Considering Sports Betting

New York NFL Sports Bets

At present, New York Giants and New York Jets fans must travel to the Meadowlands Racetrack to make legal sports bets on their favorite teams.

The New York State Gaming Commission plans to issue regulations for brick-and-mortar sports betting soon, but a 60-day imposed vetting of the rules means the state will miss out on NFL betting this season. The NFL season is when US sportsbooks make the most revenues during the year.

Other questions remain for New York sports betting. There is still some question whether a statewide referendum would be needed to legalize land-based sportsbooks in the Empire State.

When the New York electorate voted to approve 4 land-based casinos in 2013, the referendum did not ask voters whether they would approve land-based sports betting. At the time, the possibilility of the PASPA federal ban on sports betting being overturned was a distant possibility.

A source close to the state gaming commission said, “The casinos will clearly miss this football season.”

Because the voters have not given their approval to such an initiative, there is a question whether lawmakers or regulatory officials could legalize sports betting through fiat. If a ballot initiative was needed, it would cost the state at least one more NFL season.

Seneca Nation Wants Legal Sports Betting

The source with knowledge of the state gaming commission’s deliberations told the New York Post that the Seneca Nation, which owns three casinos in the state, supports legal sports betting. If the New York State Gaming Commission legalized sportsbooks, the Seneca Nation wants to operate their own casino-based sportsbooks.

That might prove troublesome, due to the nature of the tribal gaming compacts with New York state. The 1988 Indian Gaming Act gives federally-recognized tribal authorities the right to open casinos on their reservations, because they are recognized as sovereign entities. Because of that sovereignty, though, it is more complicated for New York officials to declare certain types of gaming to be legal for the tribes.

Jeff Gural on New York Bookmaker Bets

Jeff Gural, the owner of Tioga Downs, suggested recently he would support legal sports betting in New York state. Gural might be ambivalent about the prospect, because he owns Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Because the Meadowlands Racetrack is the only gaming facility in the New York City metropolitan area to have legal sports betting, Jeff Gural currently has a monopoly on legal bookmaker bets in the area. If New York legalized sports betting, Tioga Downs could take bets, but it would mean Resorts World New York City (in Queens) would be able to operate a sportsbook.

In recent comments, Jeff Gural thanked New York state regulators for not legalizing sports betting, because it gave him an effective monopoly. Those comments appeared to be facetious, but they underscored the advantageous position Gural was in.

Genting Group on NY Sportsbooks

For that reason, Genting Group — which owns Resorts World New York City and Resorts World Catskills — would want legalized New York sports betting for the same reason. Such an iniatiative would be a windfall for the Queens casino, which is on the site of the Aqueduct Racetrack. Sports betting also could help Resorts World Catskills, which has struggled during its first year of operations.

New York Online Sports Betting

Eilers & Krejcik, a gaming analyst group, estimates that New York will not have online sports betting until 2021 or 2022, according to the New York Post. Eilers & Krejcik did not estimate when land-based sports betting would occur, though most states which have legalized sports betting since the landmark US Supreme Court decision struck down PASPA legalized both at the same time.

It remains illegal under the 1961 Wire Act to transmit sports bets across state lines, so interstate sports betting would be illegal in any case. At the same time, intrastate sports betting on desktop computers and smartphones would be up to the state government.

During the time former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sought to ban daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in the state, it was estimated that 10% of all DFS revenues in the United States was generated by New York daily fantasy sports. One might guess online sports betting revenues might follow a similar pattern, so single-state online sports betting in New York would represent a huge windfall for New York casino companies.