Is Online Sports Betting in New York Legal?
As soon as Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the 2022 state budget, it will be. Cuomo had indicated his support for online sports betting, and all that was left was for he and lawmakers from the state legislature to agree on how to make it a reality. That proved complicated, as lawmakers wanted a more open model similar to neighboring New Jersey while the governor wanted a lottery-run model similar to New Hampshire, a system widely criticized by legal sports betting supporters for its lack of customer choice. Cuomo stood firm, and eventually lawmakers yielded. The countdown for actual mobile sports betting in New York can begin, with hopes of a launch in late 2021.
NY Online Sports Betting Forecast for 2021
The gaming industry is licking its chops at the prospects of online New York sports betting as much as sports bettors themselves. The governor was pushing a lottery model with a single operator while lawmakers wanted a more open marketplace with multiple sportsbook operators.
The plan was to make it part of the state budget bill agreement, which initially had a March 31, 2021 deadline. Negotiations stretched well past that date, but an agreement was reached in early April. An optimistic timeline puts a launch of NY online sports betting in late 2021.
The agreement authorizes the New York State Gaming Commission to solicit bids from interested platforms (a minimum of two) and operators (a minimum of four). The application process should begin prior to July 1, with a 30-day period for applications to be submitted and a 150-day period to select a provider. Until all these decisions are made and online sportsbooks licensed, legal sports betting is only available in-person at four commercial casinos and seven tribal casinos in upstate New York. Sports betting is not permitted in the New York City area. Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World in Queens are permitted to offer only video lottery terminals and electronic table games but cannot offer retail sports betting.
COVID negatively impacted the state’s commercial and tribal casinos, all of which were forced to close for several months during the pandemic, and then gradually re-open with reduced capacity to maintain social distancing. Even as business picked up late in 2020 when COVID cases began to decline, tax revenue for the year was down significantly. Estimates vary, but the governor’s office projects a state deficit of $14.5 billion. To address the deficit and raise revenue for schools, Cuomo ended his opposition to online NY sports betting. He subsequently announced legislation to authorize mobile sports gambling in his 2021 State of the State.
“New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States, and by legalizing online sports betting we aim to keep millions of dollars in revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis,’’ Cuomo said in his remarks.
Companion sports betting legislation filed in the New York Senate by Addabbo (D-Queens) and the Assembly by Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) during January 2021 would allow the state’s upstate commercial casinos to each partner with two mobile sports betting operators. Tribal casinos in the state would also be eligible to offer online sports betting.
Both bills quickly advanced out of committee but could face opposition from Cuomo, who prefers a more limited sports betting model such as New Hampshire, where DraftKings pays the state significantly higher tax rates in exchange for operator exclusivity. That led to protracted negotiations.
Can I Download a Sportsbook App in New York and Bet Online in New Jersey?
Sports bettors can download a New Jersey sports betting app from anywhere in the country, including New York, and set up an account. New Jersey has more than a dozen online sports betting sites to choose from. But you can’t place a bet from New York. Bettors must be physically located in New Jersey when placing a legal wager.
The same applies to online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania or any other state that allows mobile betting. All use geolocation technology and IP address identification that automatically block wagering if a user is outside the state.
Where to Place In-Person Sports Bets in New York
New York is home to four commercial casinos with retail sports betting. All are in upstate New York, with Resorts World Catskills in Monticello the closest to the New York City area (about 90 miles). In addition, three tribes (Seneca Nation, St. Regis Mohawks and Oneida Nation) operate a combined seven casino sportsbooks in the state.
|Rivers Casino Schenectady||Rivers Sportsbook||Schenectady||July 2019|
|Tioga Downs Casino||FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs||Nichols||July 2019|
|Resorts World Catskills||Sportsbook 360||Monticello||August 2109|
|del Lago Casino||DraftKings Sportsbook at del Lago||Waterloo||August 2019|
|Turning Stone Casino||Lounge With Caesars Sports||Verona||August 2019|
|Point Place Casino||Lounge With Caesars Sports||Bridgeport||August 2019|
|Yellow Brick Road Casino||Lounge With Caesars Sports||Chittenango||September 2019|
|Seneca Allegany Casino||Sports Lounge||Salamanca||December 2019|
|Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino||Sports Lounge||Buffalo||December 2019|
|Seneca Niagara Casino||Sports Lounge||Niagara Falls||December 2019|
|Akwesasne Mohawk Casino||Sticks Sports Book||Hogansburg||January 2020|
What Type of Sports Bets Can I Make in Person?
All the most popular wagers are available at New York retail sportsbooks. Among them:
Point spread: Most common sports wager. Bettors choose the favorite or underdog in any game. Favorites must win by more than a set number of points while an underdog must lose by less than the spread or win outright.
Moneyline: A wager on a team to win a game with no point spread. Favorites have negative odds (such as -150), meaning you must bet $150 to win $100. Underdogs have positive odds (such as +180) representing what you win with a $100 bet.
Parlay: Single-ticket wager involving two or more games, all of which must win.
Totals (over/under): A wager that the combined score of both teams in a game goes over or under the number set by the sportsbook.
Teaser: Parlay wager in which bettor accepts reduced odds in exchange for a more favorable point spread.
Futures: A wager on a team or game to be determined at a future date. For example, placing a bet on the Yankees or Mets to win the World Series before or during the MLB season.
Prop bets: A bet that may or may not impact the outcome of a game. Examples of prop bets are the Super Bowl coin toss, or how many yards Jets QB Sam Darnold will throw for in a specific quarter or game.
How Online Sports Betting Works
Getting started with New York sports betting online is a simple process, one that will be familiar to anyone who has set up an online betting account with sportsbook operators in other states, such as New Jersey. The first step is to look through your options for online sportsbooks, read the reviews on trusted gambling information websites such as EmpireStakes.com, check out the first deposit bonus offers, and pick one or two to join.
Now, go to that online betting site and click on “Register” or “Join” at the top of the screen. You will be asked to provide a slew of details – name, address, email, date of birth, last four digits of your Social Security number, to name a few – but don’t sweat it. This is standard in the gaming industry and sportsbook operators use encryption software to protect your data.
During the sign-up process at New York sportsbooks – or when you are about to make your first deposit – you may need to either opt-in to collect a deposit bonus or provide a promo code. Some sports betting sites automatically sign you up for their latest promotions. Make sure you know the score before signing up to ensure you get that bonus. A deposit bonus can range from risk-free sports wagers to deposit matches. Be sure to read the terms and conditions on all offers and ask customer service if you have any questions before signing up.
New York sportsbooks will have a variety of deposit methods – ranging from credit/debit cards to PayPal, Play+, online banking and more – as well as a handful of withdrawal options. Be sure they work for you. You will also have to make a minimum deposit at most sites to get rolling, often as little as $10.
To bet on sports on the site, simply scroll through the different leagues and betting markets, find a wager you like and click on it. Your betslip will populate with the wager. Now, add your stake and submit!
In-Game Wagering and Live Betting
One of the most popular markets for sports bettors is in-game wagering, otherwise known as live betting, and it is most certainly going to be a hit when online New York sports betting launches. It’s a feature only available for mobile sports betting and not at retail sportsbooks. Simply put, it allows you to place sports wagers on games that have already started with constantly updated odds.
Here’s how it works: Online betting sites use computer algorithms to update odds in real-time – we’re talking between batters in a baseball game, in between plays in an NFL game. That means sports bettors will see constantly updated moneylines, spreads, totals – even prop bets – during a game at their sportsbooks. It’s a win-win as bettors can make new bets if they like the line shifts (to help mitigate or add to an earlier wager) and sportsbook operators keep players engaged and on their site.
New York Horse Racing
New York is home to one of the top horse racing circuits in the U.S., with live racing rotating year-round between Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga. Belmont Park is home of the Belmont Stakes, third jewel of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.
In addition to nearly a dozen thoroughbred and harness racing tracks, New York is home to more than 100 off-track betting locations and allows online betting on advanced deposit wagering platforms such as NYRA Bets, TVG and TwinSpires.
New York law does not permit horse racing wagering at any of its retail sportsbook locations.
New York Daily Fantasy Sports
Major daily fantasy sports operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel continue to operate in New York, though a 2020 court ruling threw its legality into question.
New York has permitted and regulated daily fantasy sports since 2016. In 2020, a New York appellate court ruled that daily fantasy sports is not legal gambling and violates the state’s constitution. The ruling was subsequently appealed. At issue is whether DFS is considered a game of chance or skill. State lawmakers classify it as the latter.
New York Sports Betting Rules & Laws
Among the highlights of New York sports betting law, officially known as the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act:
- NY sports betting is limited to four commercial upstate casinos along with Native American tribal casinos. The law was specifically designed to help financially struggling upstate communities, only one of which is located within 100 miles of the New York City area. Three additional commercial casino licenses will become available in 2023.
- Online sports wagering is not permitted.
- Wagering on all pro sports is permitted with no restrictions. Wagering on collegiate games is permitted except for games involving in-state schools (St. John’s, Syracuse, etc.), and college games played within the state of New York.
- Wagering on sports competitions only, meaning no betting on the NFL or NBA Draft, political elections or entertainment awards.
- All bettors must be 21 years of age or older.
History of Sports Betting in New York
2013: State voters approve resolution to authorize gambling at four commercial casinos to be built primarily upstate. Approval of sports wagering is contingent upon removal of federal ban.
2018: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, giving all states the option to offer legal sports betting.
June 2019: State Senate approves legislation to legalize online sports betting. Bill fails to pass in General Assembly and is publicly opposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
July 2019: First legal sports bet in New York is placed at Rivers Sportsbook Schenectady.
July 2020: General Assembly fails to approve online sports betting legislation for second consecutive year.
January 2021: Governor Andrew Cuomo changes his position on online sports betting, citing state’s historic budget deficit. Cuomo says he favors lottery-type single-source sports betting platform. Lawmakers, however, introduce bills to allow for multiple mobile sports betting licenses in the state.
February 2021: Three of the state’s four commercial sportsbooks report their best month ever in January.
NY Sports Betting Revenue
The four commercial sportsbooks in New York recorded their best month ever in January 2021 but saw that number tumble in February all the way down to $1.15 million from $3.57 million. That put added pressure on lawmakers to get an online/mobile sports betting bill into the state budget. One major issue was Governor Andrew Cuomo preferred a lottery model like New Hampshire with a sole operator while lawmakers sought a more open marketplace similar to New Jersey.
In a January 2021 report, the New York State Gaming Commission issued a long-awaited study that estimated retail sportsbooks, combine with online sportsbook operators, could generate between $816 million to $1.14 billion in annual gross gaming revenue. That’s why sports betting in New York is front-of-mind for many lawmakers in the state legislature who see online sports betting legalization as a potential source of tax revenue.
New York Sports Betting FAQ
In-person sports betting is legal at any of the state’s four upstate commercial casino sportsbooks or tribal casinos. Online and mobile sports gambling is not legal, though Governor Andrew Cuomo changed his position in early 2021 and now supports its passage.
The minimum legal age is 21 to bet on sports in New York.
Online sports betting, online poker and online casino gambling are not legal. New York allows online pari-mutuel wagering.
No, but you can do the opposite. You can download a New Jersey sports betting app in New York but must be physically located in New Jersey to place a wager.
NY sportsbooks do not offer wagering on esports. The state’s sports gambling law does not specifically mention esports but states: “An operator shall not offer wagers on any amateur or youth sports event except collegiate sports approved by the commission.’’
All gambling winnings are subject to federal and New York state taxes, according to the IRS. You will receive a Form W-2G if your winnings on specific wagers exceed a certain threshold.
Latest New York Sports Betting News
We have you covered with the latest on sports betting in New York with the latest news and developments, both through stories and social media. As online sports betting launches and new issues emerge, we’ll have New York sports bettors covered.
All legal and regulated New York online sportsbook sites will have Responsible Gambling resources, including ways for sports bettors to limit deposits and self-exclude. We consider responsible gaming essential too, and we strive to be a resource as well. It should be fun to bet on sports, but if you feel you need help, there is assistance available to all New York bettors who may have a gambling problem. That includes support groups such as the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) and the New York National Council on Problem Gambling. The state has responsible gambling programs as well. The New York State Gaming Commission also provides resources.
Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.