Legalizing sports betting in New York

by | Dec 2, 2021 | Sports, Travel

Betting in New York

For a state filled with some of the most historic franchises in sports history, New York has long been dry when it comes to sports betting. It was formerly one of the states to ban lotteries in the mid-1800s before being made legal again in 1967. Later, casino gaming was made legal after a long era of attempts before finally coming to fruition in 2013. Until then, many New Yorkers had crossed state and city lines to take part in the fun before having access to an array of casino games, including blackjack, slots, baccarat, poker, and more. 

At around the same time, a law permitted the construction of four commercial casinos located in upstate New York. Included in that law was permission for sports betting to be allowed at those casinos, assuming a lifting of the federal ban put in place previously. This took a while to be finalized but a 2018 PAPSA ruling meant that at long last, in-person sports betting was permitted. These regulations were formally approved by the Commission in June of 2019. This was, however, open to only four casinos:

  • del Lago Resort & Casino
  • Resort World Catskills
  • Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady
  • Tioga Downs Casino


On July 16, 2019, Rivers became the first retail casino in the history of the state to accept a legalized sports bet. A sportsbook at Tioga Downs followed with its debut days later.

Whilst sports betting was technically legalized in the state, there was still something missing. Whilst the commission had allowed in-person betting, mobile sportsbooks were still prohibited, meaning that if they liked the look of the New York Knicks in the NBA lines, they crossed over the state lines to New Jersey to place a bet. Sports betting was made legal in NJ in 2018 with an estimated 20% of the sports betting action in New Jersey coming from New Yorkers crossing the state border.

That milestone was finally reached recently though in April 2021 when former Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders made a deal to legalize mobile sports betting statewide. This was eventually signed into law as part of the state budget.

Aside from adding an extra layer of excitement to game day for fans, there is also a financial motive for those behind the passing of the law. The state estimates that New York’s online sports betting market is expected to hit $1 billion in annual revenue and by 2025, annual tax revenue from online sports betting will hit $493 million.

Regulators approved licenses for nine operators; DraftKings, Fanduel, Bally Sports, BetMGM, PointsBet, Caesars, WynnBet, Kambi, and Resorts World. This made them one of 18 other states that have legalized mobile wagering. Securing a license for operators such as DraftKings is huge news for the state. As the largest fantasy sports service in the country, DraftKings boasts over eight million users and they now have one of the most popular sportsbooks in the market.

Of the nine operators, DraftKings is also the most accessible with their site and app available in 13 states throughout the country. The company was one of the first to offer legal online sports betting following the repeal of PASPA in 2018. They also have a strategic partnership in New York with Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo.

Nov. 8, 2021 — Nine sportsbooks are selected to offer mobile wagering in New York after agreeing to pay the state a 51% tax on their gross revenue. As with in-person betting, there is expected to be a wait until the launch for mobile betting. This wait is not expected to be long though and is still on schedule to launch by Super Bowl kickoff in 2022. 

Nov. 2, 2021 – The NYSGC announce that two groups will be permitted to offer sports betting in New York. The operators include some of the biggest names in sports betting such as DraftKings. 

August 9, 2021 – The Gaming Commission announces all of the bids received by its deadline.

April 19, 2021 — The legalization of online sports betting in New York is made official after Cuomo signs the state budget into law. Hopes are that the launch will come before the Super Bowl kicks off.

April 6, 2021 — Gov. Cuomo had long believed that a constitutional amendment was needed to authorize sports gambling at locations beyond the state’s existing Upstate casinos and seems to have won over lawmakers with his compromises.

Until mobile betting launches in the state, you may be resigned to heading to one of the casinos that offer sports betting. The aforementioned Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo is one of the best places to bet in the state, with their DraftKings sportsbook offering some of the best odds and markets in the country. The rest of the casinos in the state are:

  • BetRivers Sportsbook in Schenectady 
  • FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs 
  • Turning Stone in Verona 
  • Point Place in Bridgeport
  • Yellow Brick Road in Chittenango
  • Resorts World Catskills in Monticello
  • Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in Hogansburg

Unfortunately, you may have to wait a couple of months until you can sit in front of your TV place a bet using your smartphone. If you live in New York City, however, your closest sportsbooks are just across state lines in New Jersey. If you are open to taking a ride in your car or taking a train, you can place your bets right on your smartphone or laptop by heading to New Jersey or Pennsylvania. When mobile betting is finally launched in the state there is no doubting that gameday for New Yorkers is going to double in excitement.


Downtown Magazine