New York Officially Approves Online Sports Betting

New York will finally have online sports betting given lawmakers approval to adopt Governor Andrew Cuomo’s limited-operator model. The plan was agreed to primarily as a method to assist in filling the Empire State’s $59 billion budget shortfall. While it is excellent to hear that New York will have its own online sports betting program sometime within the next 12 months, industry experts are already voicing their concerns over the model that was chosen.

How New York Online Sports Betting Looks Set to Work

According to industry experts and observers, the plan will be regulated through the New York State Gaming Commission, which will accept and assess the bids for the two-provider model that has been okayed for the Empire State by lawmakers. As those operators will need to be partnered with a land-based casino and offer two brands per operator, four main candidates appear to have the inside running to receive one of the two provider licenses on offer – FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings and Bet Rivers (which could possibly be branded as SugarHouse Sports, a brand New York sports bettors know well from their journeys across the border to bet online in neighboring New Jersey).

According to the Governor, the state decided on this model as it wants the state rather than the sports to maximize revenue opportunities;

“We want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery where the state gets the revenues. Many states have done sports betting but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos but it makes minimal money for the state. And I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state. So, we have a different model for sports betting.” Governor Andrew Cuomo said when announcing the plan.

Governor Cuomo’s idea to have the New York Lottery running the online sports wagering industry has been much maligned by many state lawmakers for its lack of competition and concerns around constitutionality. It is a much more complex sports betting model from how the leading states that are already generating huge amounts of revenue for their respective state budgets. States like neighboring Pennsylvania and New Jersey allow for as many as 20 online sportsbooks to legally operate, creating greater choice for sports betting consumers.

Governor Cuomo and New York’s lawmakers announced that an accord on the state budget including online sports wagering had been agreed upon, but few details on the sports betting plan components are known at this time. A request for online sports betting provider applications will go out before July 1, with responses due in 30 days thereafter, and the initial contracts awarded within the ensuing five months.

The plan also has New York Tribal Casinos offside

Shortly after the announcement of the plan, there was almost immediate negative comment from the Oneida Nation, operators of bricks-and-mortar casinos upstate under a 2013 compact with New York State. The tribe already pay the New York State Government $70 million per year for exclusive gaming rights in the region, which under the new plan is set to become worthless as they will not see a dime from sports wagering under the Governor’s plan.

“We are disappointed and believe the legislation is a step backward, as the state apparently expects (us) to bid for the right to offer mobile sports betting,” a statement from Oneida Nation read.

While getting the state moving on mobile sports betting is great, we hope in time that all gaming stakeholders are granted their fair slice of the sports betting pie by New York State lawmakers.

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