New York state has been a tad slow to move on legal sports betting as neighboring New Jersey has already been collecting big wins since it opened its doors.
Just as the Empire State has legalized sports betting – Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady took its first sports bet last week, as did the FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs – New York is set to launch a study to learn about the gaming market. Proposals are due July 31.
New York state legalized sports betting last week and more brick-and-mortar options are on the way soon. But judging by the way New York did it, many would consider the state behind the times. For now there are just the two land-based casinos, and most New Yorkers would have to travel hours to get to either one. More important, there are still no online or mobile betting options.
In that context, New York is moving forward with a study to examine all sorts of aspects of gaming. In June, the New York Gaming Commission put out a request for proposals for different consultants to help with a study to see what impact adding three new casinos in the New York City area might have.
Beyond that, the study is also expected to look at what type of impact neighboring states like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania will have on New York state’s market.
New York approved four casinos in 2013. As they move slowly, the market has shifted – most notably when the demise of PASPA opened up potential sports betting markets in every state – and that’s making life even more challenging for those casinos.
For example, New York legalized those casinos with the idea that they’d reach certain revenue targets and have a certain impact on the state’s budget. However, those casinos have failed to meet expectations. That’s partly because the neighboring states have moved faster and have brought more attractive options to the market.
Massachusetts has opened a couple of Las Vegas-like casinos with the MGM Springfield and the Encore Boston Harbor. The latter is just a 20-minute drive from downtown Boston so people in the state’s biggest city don’t have to go far to wager. In New York, the casinos are not close to New York City.
Another example is the state’s decision to legalize sports betting last week. Residents of New York State, as of July 17, can place sports bets at Rivers Casino. However, that’s about a three-hour drive north of New York City.
By comparison, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have legalized sports betting online, which means residents of those states can place bets from their smartphones or other online methods. Those two states are maximizing revenue potential more than New York.
"The idea is to help one industry without cannibalizing or hurting another aspect," state Sen. Joseph Addabbo said, according to the Albany Times-Union. "If (the study is) done correctly, it can create a blueprint for us to move forward."
Proponents such as Addabbo will hope that this study will help clear the path for the state to build casinos closer to New York City and give a feasible option for sports betting for the masses.