How Sports Betting Became Legal In New York

Published on August 16, 2023, 9:41 pm
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The United States and its citizens have the ability to watch how a brand-new market in sports betting is spreading its reach across the country in real time. Several states have already fully legalized sports wagers, both online and in-person, but there are still numerous territories in the U.S. that have at least one of the mediums barred or both. Luckily for residents of New York, they have the ability to place bets both online and in person and were one of the first people in the country to have that privilege.

Early process of legalizing sports betting in New York

While citizens of New York have enjoyed the opportunity to bet on sports legally for a few years now, it was a long and bumpy road for the state to reach that point. In 2013, New York Casino Gambling Amendment, Proposal 1 passed on November 05, legislating approved sports betting at four new casino locations in the state. Unfortunately, the federal ban in place due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 still barred New Yorkers from wagering on sports despite it being legal at the state level. That is until 2018 when the United States Supreme Court repealed PASPA and passed down the legality of sports gambling back to the individual states.

With the New York Casino Gambling Amendment, Proposal 1 already in place, legislators and regulators were able to begin bringing sports betting to the state immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision. The following year, on July 16, 2019, Rivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Schenectady opened its doors for retail sports bettors, becoming the first location in New York to do so. It was followed quickly by operators such as FanDuel and Caesars, which opened their own retail sportsbooks shortly after.

Online sports betting in New York

In 2020, several legislators pushed to bring online sports betting to the state. Unfortunately, their efforts were halted by the CoViD-19 outbreak, and the issue was delayed until the following year. Finally, on April 06, 2021, a state budget bill passed that would allow online sports betting within the borders.

It was not until January 08, 2022, though, that online sports betting was officially launched in New York, with four apps going live in FanDuel, Caesars, DraftKings, and BetMGM. While the journey may have been slow and arduous, sports betting jumped out of the gates at top speed once citizens were able to cast wagers online. Per, in  just the first five weeks of its legality, online sports betting brought in over $2.4 billion in wagers in New York.

How sports betting has fared in New York

In the first year, online sports bettors in New York set several industry records. The yearly handle reached $16.2 billion, total gross gaming revenue crossed $1.36 billion, and the state brought in over $693 million in tax revenue from sportsbooks. In 2022, New York crossed the $1 billion mark in handle in 10 of its first 12 months with legal online sports betting.

Andrew Cuomo, who governed the state during the legislation period, initially opposed legalizing sports gambling in New York. However, he crossed sides after negotiating a hefty tax rate that would benefit the state greatly, with nine different sportsbooks agreeing to a 51 percent tax rate on top of a $25 million licensing fee per operator. Sports betting growth in New York has shown no signs of slowing down either, as citizens wagered over $9.1 billion from January to June of 2023, up nearly 11 percent from the $8.5 billion in bets cast in the same time span in 2022.

With Cuomo’s lofty tax rate and sportsbooks generating more than enough revenue to justify the 51 percent paid in taxes, sports betting will likely be a mainstay in New York for years to come.

Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.