Summary: New York gaming regulators are considering mobile and online sports betting, but voters might not be on board.
In New York, legislation to allow sports betting to take place in the state was passed back in 2013. However, at the time, a federal ban was in place regarding the industry. In May 2018, the United States Supreme Court decided to rule that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was invalid. This decision allowed states like New York to get started with sports betting.
The state has been slow going in their efforts to launch the new wagering option. The New York Gaming Commission has been busy crafting rules and regulations, with the option only available to casino venues. Mobile gaming and online options are not considered legal based on state law.
New York can add mobile gaming to the mix, but Governor Andrew Cuomo believes that the option can only come about if an amendment is added to the constitution. With this route, the state would have to see an amendment approved by the Assembly and Senate, then placed on a ballot for voter consideration.
This could take as long as three years to complete. In the meantime, the state would be restricted to on-site sports betting. This restriction would definitely put a damper on the amount of revenues the state could bring in. Mobile usage is basically a given when it comes to gambling these days. Players want to have access to their games on the go and mobile allows them to do so.
Neighbor to New York, New Jersey, offers mobile options and will most likely take on a little New York traffic as visitors cross state lines to place wagers online.
Would Voters Approve?
If an amendment to the constitution is required, voters would essentially have to approve the idea. As of right now, approval might not be so easy to secure. Based on a recent Siena College poll, voters are split as to how they see mobile gambling via sports betting.
44% are for and 44% are against. A remaining 12% have no opinion on the matter. So, it seems the proponents of mobile sports betting will have to convince voters that the option is a good one to see it come to fruition, if an amendment is needed.
Other lawmakers do not feel that the decision needs to require an amendment. For now, discussions are ongoing as to how the state can proceed in general with land-based offerings as well as how to move on with online options.
The state is only going to fall further and further behind if they cannot get started in general. Having land-based sports betting will be a good starting point, but will not bring in the large amount of revenues as can be seen with mobile gambling.
It seems over the next few weeks or even days, we should see the state legislature decide how they wish to proceed. We may see land-based gaming stay at the forefront and mobile options be pushed to the wayside as the state just wants to get the ball rolling with the new industry.