Lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo finally reached a consensus. The 2022 budget included sports betting. After months and months of debate, online sports betting is officially legal in the state of New York.
Well… kind of.
At this time, residents in New York must still visit a retail sportsbook. But, online options should be available at some point by the end of 2021. However, this is no guarantee. It could be until 2022 before any online operators are able to go live.
Lawmakers in the state of New York have lobbied for online sports betting ever since retail options became available in 2019. Unfortunately, there was strong opposition from the governor. That all changed in December 2020 when Cuomo first mentioned the possibility of allowing online wagering.
Cuomo initially believed that a new constitutional amendment needed to legalize this form of betting. But it was unnecessary. The New York State Gaming Commission already oversees the retail sports betting industry. They will be in charge of online sports betting as well.
There is potential for lawsuit filing by tribal casino operators in New York. They are not going to have a chance to offer online sports betting at this time, and it will provoke them. Online sports betting is legal in New York, but terms and conditions do apply.
Problems, Questions Still Remain
Even though Governor Cuomo signed off on mobile sports betting in early April, there are still some major systemic flaws that need fixing. New York has the potential to become one of the biggest sports betting markets in the US, but not with the way the current rules are set up.
The New York State Lottery will be in charge of the mobile sports betting industry. That presents a big problem. This monopolization will severely limit the competition in the industry. It will keep New York sports betting from reaching its full potential.
One of the major reasons for allowing online betting was to keep money in the state, and to keep it out of New Jersey. With only two online operators chosen, money will still likely flow over to New Jersey regardless.
There will be a bidding process in place for the two online sports betting licenses. The state is expected to see some big names apply for these licenses. Both FanDuel and DraftKings already offer retail betting in New York, and could quickly launch an online sportsbook.
This is where the new laws have legally blurred lines. It appears that these two license-holders will also have access to two skins. Potentially, these operators could partner with another company to use the other skin. However, that would also take away revenue from themselves.
Some lawmakers hoped to mimic New Jersey. New Jersey permits online-only operators to apply for a license. New York’s current policy is expected to be cleaned up and improved in the coming months. But as of the present, these restrictions will hurt the state when it goes to launch online betting.