New York to Tackle Sports Betting Through Budget; MSG Eyeing Market

A couple of interesting sports betting developments have come out of New York over the last week. Although details are limited right now, Governor Cuomo has confirmed he will be seeking to authorize sports betting in New York.

In related news, Madison Square Garden is staking its claim on a piece of the sports betting market. A number of gaming operators have formed similar agreements in anticipation of the Empire State legalizing sports betting, but this will be a first for one of the state’s premier sports entertainment brands.

New York to Tackle Sports Betting Through State Budget

First up, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has included revenue from legal sports betting as one of the means by which the state will address its $3.1 billion fiscal gap. The news was first reported by various outlets this morning, and Cuomo confirmed the plan in his State of the State address this afternoon.

Cuomo said in his speech that sports betting is “here and it’s a reality” before diving in to stay he would like to see New York sports betting legalized this year. The Buffalo News reports Cuomo is focused on taking advantage of a law passed in 2013 authorizing the state’s four commercial casinos located upstate to begin accepting wagers.

The 2013 law was approved via referendum and offers a limited form of sports betting. Under that law, Resorts World Catskills, del Lago Resort, Tioga Downs and Rivers Casino are all allowed to accept wagers in-person if and when the NY Gaming Commission gets around to issuing regulations.

New York’s gaming tribes contend that existing compacts permit the tribes to also offer sports betting if wagering is authorized at commercial casinos. It remains to be seen how the government plans to deal with that issue.

The Buffalo News also reports Cuomo has not yet expressed interest in legalizing online betting, which would obviously be important for maximizing the reach of casinos’ sports betting platforms – especially with neighboring New Jersey allowing online betting.

The complicating factor in New York when it comes to mobile betting is that the 2013 law includes no online provisions. A constitutional amendment may be needed to permit online wagers in New York.

That Cuomo would take the budgetary approach lines up with speculation at the start of this year that such an approach may be necessary. The new Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Liz Kreuger, appears to be a staunch opponent of sports betting.

Any sports betting bill introduced into the legislature would run the significant risk of being shot down by Liz Kreuger as it would likely need to pass through the Finance Committee due to its potential impact on state finances. Cuomo’s budgetary approach serves as a simple run-around to avoid anything passing Kreuger’s desk.

There’s still some work to be done in New York with the Gaming Commission needing to issue regulations, the state needing to work something out with the tribes and online betting yet to be addressed, but today’s news is nonetheless an important step forward for NY sports fans.

Madison Square Garden Staking Its Claim on Sports Betting

Last week, The Action Network reported the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has filed a patent for a mobile sports betting application that describes an app which would manage traditional sports wagers, wagering tournaments, “peer-to-peer gambling competitions” and more.

MSG has not released the specific details of its plan, but a representative did tell The Action Network that MSG is “very interested in the opportunities legalized sports gaming could bring, and recognize that we have a brand, in MSG, that is recognizable around the world for its connection to iconic sports.”

New York has not yet legalized sports betting, but as the first part of today’s post shows, legalization is certainly on the agenda. MSG’s decision to enter the sports betting space early makes sense. MSG is a very well-known name that operates not only Madison Square Garden arena, but also the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Liberty, the Hartford Wolf Pack, eSports organization Counter Logic Gaming and other venues.