Less than a year after the US Supreme Court opened the gates to allow legal sports betting across the nation, New York has taken a significant step towards legalizing and regulating its own industry. On Monday, the State Gaming Commission, consisting of seven legislators, voted unanimously to approve a 33 page set of proposed rules that would allow upstate casinos to offer sports betting.
The changes won’t be made in time for New Yorkers to wager on this year’s Super Bowl, since the State Gaming’s decision won’t become official until a two-month public comment period is over. Then, should there be no objections, the Commission still has to review all the comment and formally adopt the rule. Another part of the process will be to issue the four upstate casinos with sports betting licenses. All this means that New York won’t see legal sports betting until April at the earliest.
Preparations are already underway to incorporate sports pool facilities into the casinos – Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, the Rivers Casino in Schenectady, the del Lago Casino in Tyre and Tioga Downs near Binghampton. Special lounges will have to be constructed, and boards listing all wagers will have to be mounted. The casinos are hoping that sports betting products may help their sluggish businesses which have, so far, not lived up to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s predictions that they would help the economies of these far-flung New York communities.
If New York truly wants to stay in line, if not ahead, of the competition, it will need to do more than introduce just sports betting, however. Neighboring New Jersey is enjoying another year of success following the introduction of its online gambling industry several years ago, and New Yorkers regularly cross the border to enjoy online casino games and online poker. New York’s next move should thus be to consider online gambling regulation as soon as possible.