New York is one of the lucky few states that have legal online betting ready and active. Not only that, but it’s already a billion-dollar business. Other states have gotten millions from the industry, showcasing how sports betting is only getting more popular. This is because online sports betting is reaching a lot of new people and giving them the ability to participate more than they could before. The question, then, is why it has taken so long to legalize it. Here is how New York legally turned sports betting into more than a casino-only business.
New York’s legal online betting began with the US Supreme Court in 2018. The Supreme Court repealed an old act called PAPSA that prohibited sports betting outside of Las Vegas. With PAPSA gone, states were free to pass their own betting laws. For many, this meant online casinos and sports betting were on the table. When it came to New York, the Gaming Commission only approved sports betting in its 2019 decision. Online and in-casino sports betting is allowed, joining online poker, the lottery, and horse race wagers as the legal forms of gambling in NY. Online casinos are still not legal in the Empire State.
Then, in 2021, NY legalized the sports betting apps and websites provided by several companies. These started operation in 2022, right before the Super Bowl. Different betting apps that are legal around the state of New York include FanDuel, DraftKings, Bally Bet, BetMGM, Caesars, WynnBET, Empire Resorts, PointsBet and BetRivers. BetMGM created a special deal to provide betting kiosks to Madison Square Garden, while Caesars made an exclusive deal with the Buffalo Bills.
The legal process to get online betting legalized did have some hurdles. One of the bigger ones was opposition from certain lawmakers. This is the reason why online sports betting is allowed but casinos aren’t. Some lawmakers didn’t want gambling to become so widespread in NY, and got enough votes to stop the adoption of online gambling as a whole. Sports betting came through after a lengthy debate period.
For many other states, the process was stalled by legal negotiations with Native American tribes. Tribes have special legal rights concerning gambling, with federal laws stipulating that gambling has to be done on tribal land. Some states circumvent this by establishing that online gambling “takes place” on servers located on tribal land. Some of the tribes are okay with this, while others would rather have gambling stay in the casino as the sales from hotels, restaurants, and merchandise are more profitable than gambling alone. Usually it just takes giving the tribes a good portion of the profits to make the law go through, though some will fight harder, as is happening in California. Fortunately for New Yorkers, the local tribes were quite amicable in their negotiations. The state was able to get sports betting legalized in a timely fashion.
The state of NY has brought in billions from its first month of legal sports betting. That’s before the Super Bowl, which probably saw a massive increase in betting. Taking sports betting out of the casinos and expanding it to a wider audience paid off bigtime. One huge market has been New York City, which doesn’t have any casinos. Being able to bet from your phone is a game-changer for NYC residents. It could be that seeing the profits from the first few weeks of legal sports betting will change some lawmaker’s minds. There is an election coming up in 2022, and it could see New Yorkers considering the possibility of online casinos.