New York Takes its First Legal Sports Bet Tuesday 9/16/19

ny takes first legal sports bet

New York sports bettors now place bets legally in their home state. While it may not be through a mobile platform like many would have hoped, this is still a victory for sports bettors. On Tuesday, one of New York’s four upstate commercial casinos, Rivers Casino Schenectady, opened up for the public to begin placing bets. Rivers Casino sports lounge features over a dozen betting kiosks, six betting windows, dozens of armchair seats, a VIP seating area, and a wall full of televisions to take in the action.

When Will the Others Join?

While Rivers Casino Schenectady was the first in New York to open its sports betting doors, others won’t be far behind. Tioga Downs will be opening their FanDuel Sportsbook this Friday at approximately 2:30 PM. The two other upstate commercial casinos in New York, del Lago Resort & Casino and Resorts World Catskills, have yet to release a timeline on when exactly they plan on opening their sportsbooks.
Per compacts with the states, tribal casinos are also able to offer sports betting at their casinos. The Oneida Nation is expected to be the first tribe to open a sportsbook in New York. While they are expecting to begin operations before the start of the 2019 NFL season, there is no exact timeline just yet.

Sports Betting Expectations in New York

Without legal mobile sports betting in New York, the state will come nowhere near their full potential in terms of sports betting handle and revenue. New York City and its nearly nine million residents are just too far away from any commercial casino to travel two or more hours to place a bet. Instead, nearly all, if not all, New York City residents will continue the short trip across state lines to place bets in New Jersey on their phones. New York is losing millions of dollars in revenue each month to New Jersey.
Despite the lack of mobile, brick-and-mortar sports betting in New York is still expected to be a big industry. New York is still expected to make tens of millions of dollars a year in sports betting tax revenue under its current legal format. Once mobile makes its way to New York, they will be taking an estimated 10-15 percent of the sports betting handle New Jersey currently sees, as they will more than likely keep most, if not all, NYC bettors betting in their home state.

Mobile Hopes in New York

In an article posted on, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-Mount Vernon) expressed his desire to bring mobile sports betting to New York:
“We’re going to get mobile sports betting before the middle of next year, it just has to be, because right now New Jersey is cleaning our clock when it comes to sports betting,” said Pretlow. “I think New York should always be at the forefront of everything and right now we’re a little bit behind them.”
Pretlow, along with State Senator Joseph Addabboo Jr., has been at the forefront of the push to bring mobile sports betting to New York. They have been trying for years to bring legal mobile betting to the Empire State, but their efforts have always fallen short. They made a late push towards the end of the recent legislative session but were again unsuccessful. Governor Andrew Cuomo believes that an amendment to the state constitution is needed before mobile betting can be legalized. However, some lawmakers don’t believe that is the case. 2020 will be an interesting year for the push to legalize mobile sports betting in New York.