Politics here in the US has been in a state of flux recently. The presidential election has taken up much of the country’s attention which has distracted from the frustrations imposed on us by the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic’s impact on the economy is felt by New Yorkers in the closure of indoor dining and it can be felt politically in the hold up of legislative agendas everywhere. The reality is that state legislatures across the nation are powering on with important legislation that can and does affect the lives of local residents – and the situation in New York is no exception.
One particular area of focus for the New York state legislature is sports betting. The state gave the green light to in-person sports betting several years ago, although operators are currently not allowed to offer it online. This article will explore what could come next for the New York state legislature, and investigate how sports bettors might benefit from potential upcoming changes.
The national background
Since 2018, there has been a complete overhaul in how the federal government treats those who wager on games. As anyone who has followed the sports betting scene over the last few years will know, it’s now possible to place legal bets on sports games in a wide range of states. This is because the federal ban on such betting, which was laid down under the terms of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (or PASPA for short), was struck down by the Supreme Court. Now, it’s up to individual states to decide on the future of gaming for their residents and visitors.
As one of the largest states in the Union, New York is under scrutiny. The state is home to some of the country’s most popular sports teams, and the growing connections between sports betting providers and teams themselves have been widely documented. Its proximity to New Jersey, one of the country’s gambling hotspots, also brings its response to the PASPA abolition into sharp focus.
Sports betting: attempts so far
Sports betting was actually given the green light in New York long before PASPA was abolished. Ever since 2013, it has been legal for New Yorkers to go to a commercial casino and place some sports bets – although the market only got going as recently as 2019. However, legislators in the country have not quite been able to get online sports betting over the line. The New York State Gaming Commission has given a cautious welcome to some proposals to legalize online sports betting in the state, though, and bettors are advised to remain patient.
What’s next for the Empire State?
But despite the fact that New York has been close to the front of the queue when it comes to legalizing sports betting, making it all legal is a highly complex process – and not one that is likely to change any time soon. The next hurdle for sports bettors in the state is whether or not sports betting can be done via mobile phones. Currently, this is not possible – although recent legislation proposed by the New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow seeks to change that.
According to Pretlow and his local Senate colleague, Joe Addabbo Jr., the legislation – if passed – will see commercial casinos and tribe-run casino firms being able to join forces with mobile sportsbook providers. Each firm would be allowed to team up with two such mobile providers. Crucially, the operators would all have to make enormous, upfront payments of over $10 million in order to secure their licenses.
One interesting aspect of the new proposed move is that it stands in contrast to the model proposed by New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, who wants the authorities in the state to be running mobile sportsbooks. The proposal going through the legislature appears to hand this right over to commercial casinos. Whether or not the legislation will be hampered by the ongoing attempts to respond to the coronavirus situation, though, remains to be seen – and if so, it could be months or even years before due attention is given to this matter.
As this blog post has shown, New York has in recent years been somewhat on the front foot when it comes to sports betting. The state does allow some sports betting, even though it hasn’t quite got to the online stage just yet. There is still a way to go – and with recent political wrangling over mobile sports betting looking set to go on for a while longer, bettors will need to keep an eye on the ever-changing scene.