Tuesday was the day that we’ve been waiting to see for many years: Sports betting is underway in the state of New York. The first sports bet was placed at Rivers Casino in upstate Schenectady. The Empire State is one of the most progressive in the United States, so this action might break the dam open for even more parts of the country to welcome the popular pastime.
Tuesday’s action made New York the 10th state to take a legal sports bet since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018.
New York has been under the gun to legalize sports betting ever since neighboring New Jersey opened its doors and now the day has finally come. The first bet was placed at Rivers Casino & Resort, one of four upstate casinos that won approval to accept bets from the New York Gaming Commission. New York Assemblyman J Gary Pretlow was there, placing a $20 wager on the Seattle Mariners:
The sports betting industry is estimated at about 150 billion, so New York State will now be getting a piece of the pie. Early estimates suggest that the state will collect anywhere from $10 million to $30 million a year in sports betting profits.
Rivers Casino was first on the board, but it will have some in-state competition very soon. Del Lago, Resorts World Catskills and Tioga Downs are in the process of submitting applications. The state’s Gaming Commission has to review each individually then give them the green light. Tioga Downs, home to a new FanDuel Sportsbook that’s 2,600 square feet, is expected to be the next casino to get approval.
In terms of the types of bets that are currently allowed, gamblers will be able to place straight-up wagers, parlays, totals and even some in-game bets, though it’s unclear how effective live betting will be without the online component, which New York is missing.
The sports available as of right now are professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and college sports. However, bettors in New York will not be able to bet on or against in-state schools so, for instance, Syracuse games will not be on the board.
New York is still lagging behind other states like New Jersey as The Empire State has yet to legalize online sports betting. That’s a big setback as most state residents will have to drive a long way to a place like Rivers Casino to place a bet. Meanwhile, many bettors – most notably in New York City – can simply cross the Hudson River to place wagers in New Jersey via smartphone apps.
In the end, this is a big step in the right direction even if it’s just brick-and-mortar sports betting for now. There will be an initial euphoria and while watching games at a sportsbook – especially like a Super Bowl Sunday – always offers a great atmosphere, traveling hours to place one sports bet is not convenient for most. That’s especially true when you consider that there is good action to bet on every night.