New York Gaming Commission Approves Rules for Licensing and Operating Sports Wagering Facilities

The New York Gaming Commission (Commission) unanimously approved rules for licensing and operating sports wagering facilities across upstate New York on Monday, June 11. This is a major step toward the allowance of sports betting in New York, which is now the fourteenth state to legalize some form of sports betting following the May 2018 Supreme Court ruling that struck a law federally banning sports betting in the United States.

Legal experts estimate that New York sports books will be fully operational by the beginning of August. However, the Commission placed limits on such legalization, including that bettors can only make bets in person in sports lounges at the state’s four new commercial casinos, or potentially at the region’s seven Indian-owned casinos. The four commercial sites that will be allowed to host sports books are del Lago Resort & Casino; Rivers Casino & Resort; Resorts World Catskills; and Tioga Downs. Some of these sports betting lounges are already under construction, as del Lago Resort & Casino and Rivers Casino & Resort announced separately on May 14. Sports betting lounges are also currently under construction at three casinos operated by the federally-recognized Oneida Indian NationPoint Place Casino; Turning Stone Casino; and Yellow Brick Road Casino, according to Syracuse.com. The Oneidas are partnering with Caesars Entertainment to operate sports lounges. Bets will not commence until these approved facilities receive their wagering licenses.

Additionally, betting on college athletic teams that are located in New York, as well as any collegiate events taking place within the state, will not be legalized. This also includes events such college football bowl games, NCAA basketball tournament games, individual collegiate conference tournaments, and neutral site games which occur in New York. Many of these events take place annually in New York City at Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, and Yankee Stadium.

Although there is a push among legislators for the passage of bills which would revise the rules to allow online betting via various formats, such as mobile devices and home computers, such legislation is unlikely to pass this year, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. also introduced an amendment to his sports betting bill which would allow betting inside professional sports stadiums in New York and would allow such stadiums to be a sports betting “affiliate” if passed. Gov. Cuomo believes that such changes would require an amendment to the state constitution, a process which could take two to three years. However, Gov. Cuomo’s belief conflicts with sports gaming legal expert Daniel Wallach’s assertion at the New York State Senate public hearing held on June 8 that legalization necessitates no amendment, as we have previously reported.

The estimate that New York sports books will be fully operational by August is important given that it would allow consumers within the state to bet ahead of the upcoming National Football League and college football seasons. We will continue to monitor such progress, as well as any amendments which would expand sports wagering in New York.

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