Since a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling opened up legalized sports betting beyond Nevada, some States have been quick to get fully on board while others have been disappointingly slow.
One such state that hasn't embraced the overall benefits of legalization is New York, a state that doesn't have to look far to see what sports betting can provide for their bottom line.
New York currently accepts in-person bets at brick-and-mortar facilities only. A look at neighbor New Jersey shows that New York is missing out on a lucrative mobile sports betting handle, one that contributed just north of 83% of the bets taken last month in the most bet-friendly state outside of Nevada. Pennsylvania, which also embraced legalization early and has its own mobile betting platform isn't far behind in their revenue projections.
So what is lacking?
New York does have a legal betting platform at 4 traditional casinos – one that earned just over $6 million since July. But sports betting amounted to only 4 percent of the total gaming revenues at those casinos. A look at New York's numbers show that the lack of mobile betting is the prime reason New York has fallen so far behind.
Chris Grove, managing director of Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, a national research firm specializing in the gambling industry recently remarked “The reality is that consumers want convenient ways to bet, and the status quo for sports betting in New York is anything but. If the state is serious about siphoning off demand from the illegal market and generating real tax revenue, it needs to add online sports betting to the mix.”
An October 30th report on sports betting revenues shows New York lagging far behind the top-earning states. Nevada led the way in that report with $407.7 million with New Jersey second with $284.6 million, Pennsylvania third with $57.1 million and New York dead last of the 10 states surveyed with just $3.5 million in revenues.
“All four commercial properties (in New York) have sportsbooks open for betting as do a few tribal casinos — but the existing law does not make provision for statewide online/mobile wagering.” a rep from legalsportsreport.com said, “As such, expectations for NY sports betting revenue should be mitigated.”
What can be/is being done?
Lawmakers in New York are not resistant to the expansion of sports betting. The New York State Gaming Commission recently hired well-regarded Spectrum Gaming Group for a comprehensive market study on the industry. The study will start on December 1 and is expected to highlight the need for the state to adopt mobile betting.
Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. of New York, a proponent of expanded online casinos and racetracks recently voiced his pleasure with the Spectrum Gaming Group study saying "We’ve got the green light; start your engines. I look forward to the first draft in April. Let’s hope it’s useful.”
The first draft of the report is still a ways away, however. The first draft is due April 1 with the deadline for the final report being June 1, making it nearly impossible for lawmakers to consider results for next year’s budget plans or before the 2020 elections.
New York, which prides itself on being one of the more progressive states in the US has certainly been slow on the mobile betting uptake. It is a stretch that New York will start reaping the tax and revenue benefits in the very near future.
That said, there is widespread acknowledgment for the need to move quickly with an ultimate aim to follow in New Jersey’s footsteps. Increased exposure in the area of a mobile sports betting platform has been a boon for New Jersey’s bottom line and that fact appears to not have been lost on the lawmakers in New York.