The first New York sportsbooks opened in July 2019, a little over a year after the Supreme Court overturned the federal sports betting prohibition. Today, commercial and tribal casinos across the state operate retail sportsbooks.
Mobile sports betting in New York is still a work in progress. There is clearly desire among the legislature to legalize and regulate online sports betting, but lawmakers have struggled to reach a consensus on how to approach the issue.
In the meantime, online horse racing betting and daily fantasy sports serve as the next closest alternatives to mobile sports betting.
Best New York Betting Sites
Horse and Greyhound Betting:
Legal Online Betting in New York
Several forms of online betting are already legal in New York. Daily fantasy sports, horse betting and greyhound betting are all legal within the state. Below is a list of operators based in the United States that already accept customers from New York.
Horse and Greyhound Racing:
New York Sports Betting
Sports betting is legal in New York due to a referendum approved by voters in 2013 permitting the state’s four upstate commercial casinos to operate retail sportsbooks pending a change in federal law. The Supreme Court took care of that with its landmark ruling against PASPA in 2018.
After the Supreme Court ruling, the next thing that needed to happen was for the NY Gaming Commission to issue regulations governing the conduct of sports betting. The Commission did so in June 2019 and the first sportsbooks opened the following month.
Tribal casinos gained the authority to open retail sportsbooks as well by extension due to gaming compacts that allow them to offer the same types of gambling as commercial casinos. As a result, all casinos in New York may potentially operate sportsbooks if they wish.
Mobile Sports Betting in New York
The 2013 sports betting referendum that brought retail sportsbooks to New York is limited in scope to bets placed in-person at casinos. The law was actually written specific to commercial casinos located in upstate New York, but gaming compacts between Native American Groups and the state allow tribal casinos to offer any game authorized by state law.
One other key area the 2013 law does not address is online sports betting. Lawmakers will need to pass additional legislation to authorize mobile sportsbooks in New York, but progress on that front has been stalled by competing views of how (and if) that should be accomplished.
Lawmakers have introduced multiple bills since 2018 to legalize mobile betting but have been stymied at varying points along the way. Even so, New York looks increasingly likely to pass an online sports betting bill sooner or later.
One potential roadblock to passing new legislation is the opposition of prominent anti-gambling senator Liz Kreuger. She chairs the Senate Finance Committee and could singlehandedly strike down any law that passes her desk. This represents a serious problem for sports betting legislation because it would have to go through the Finance Committee due to its potential impacts on state finances.
A second roadblock comes from Governor Andrew Cuomo, who insists legalizing mobile sports betting would require a constitutional amendment – a much more involved process than merely passing a new law.
With Governor Cuomo and anti-gambling lawmakers presenting a serious challenge, pro-gaming lawmakers attempted in early 2019 to include online betting in the state’s budget bill. Governor Cuomo spoke fondly of sports betting at the time, but it turned out his support of betting extended only to retail sportsbooks and he declined to include the provision in the budget bill.
Lawmakers discussed taking up the issue again in 2020 but were unable to reach a consensus before the end of the legislative deadline.
Momentum to Legalize Mobile Sports Betting in NY
Current efforts to legalize sports betting in New York are just the latest of numerous other efforts undertaken by legislators to make something happen. In 2018, State Senator John Bonacic introduced a bill seeking to legalize sports betting in New York. Senate Bill 7900 sought to legalize sports betting at state casinos on the condition that federal law changes to allow states such as New York to regulate sports wagers
State Senator John Bonacic introduced a bill in March of 2018 seeking to legalize sports betting in New York. Senate Bill 7900 sought to legalize sports betting at state casinos on the condition that federal law changes to allow states such as New York to regulate sports wagers
This legislation would have permitted online and mobile wagering, authorized the Gaming Commission to establish regulations and called for a tax rate of 8.5%. The leagues had requested that New York include a 1% integrity fee in the bill, but local casinos came out strongly against the integrity fee because it is applied to total betting handle and is practically as expensive as taxing net income 20% or more. Lawmakers struck a compromise and included a 0.25% integrity fee.
In a press release announcing the introduction of the bill, Bonacic said this:
“New York State has historically been behind the curve in dealing with developments in the gaming world, and it has been to our detriment. If allowed, sports betting will be a revenue enhancer for education in New York. We have the chance to ensure our sports betting statute is fully developed and addresses the needs of the state and all stakeholders so we can hit the ground running if and when we can authorize and regulate sports betting.”
That bill did not make it through the process before the end of the 2018 legislative session.
Online Betting Operators Planning Their Move
It seems to be a question of “when” rather than “if” mobile sports betting is legalized in New York. The market demand is clearly there and has been more than demonstrated over in New Jersey where the majority of wagers made via mobile devices already outstrips those made in-person.
In fact, smart money is already moving in on the industry.
DraftKings reached a similar deal with del Lago Resort & Casino in July 2018 and FanDuel has a deal of its own in place with Tioga Downs. In all, three of New York’s four commercial casinos have deals in place with major gaming providers to pounce on the opportunity as soon as sports betting is given the green light in New York.
Tribal gaming operators have also begun making moves as well in the expectation of launching sports betting alongside the state’s commercial casinos. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe announced in July that it has reached a deal with The Stars Group that will operate under the Fox Bet brand.
Under that agreement, Fox Bet will provide support services to a retail sportsbook at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort with options to also operate mobile sports betting, online poker and online casino games if permitted by state law.
Rivers Casino Schenectady has already begun construction on a retail sportsbook and will likely look to launch online betting under the BetRivers.com brand. BetRivers.com is already operational in Pennsylvania, and parent company Rush Street Gaming also operates SugarHouse in New Jersey.
FanDuel parent company Betfair US struck a deal with Tioga Downs in 2018 to operate a retail sportsbook and mobile betting in New York. According to a press release issued at the time, the partnership agreement is “long-term” in nature.
PointsBet also has some kind of deal in place with Tioga Downs, but it is unclear how that agreement would interact with the deal FanDuel already has in place with the same racetrack. All we have to go on is an early-2019 press release announcing the launch of PointsBet NJ that mentioned the Tioga Downs partnership in passing.
Caesars Casino will establish itself in the New York sports betting market through a deal reached with the Oneida Indian Nation in January 2019. That deal will see Oneida and Caesars build a sports betting lounge at each of three casinos (Turning Stone, Yellow Brick Road and Point Place). A press release issued at the time did not mention mobile betting.
New York Horse Racing Betting
Horse racing betting is widespread and readily available across New York. Fans can bet trackside at any of the state’s 12 racetracks, nearly 100 off-track betting parlors or online through mobile betting sites that are authorized to accept wagers from New Yorkers.
Online Horse Racing Betting
The Horse Racing division of the New York State Gaming Commission oversees the conduct of racing and parimutuel wagering within the state. The Commission
Under New York law, advance deposit wagering (online betting) may be offered by licensed operators. 9 NYCRR § 4500.1 states account wagers may be placed “in-person, via telephonic device or by the internet or by communication through other electronic media.”
Multiple ADWs are authorized to provide online horse racing betting in New York today. The most prominent online parimutuel wagering providers licensed in NY include:
New York Racetracks
110-00 Rockaway Blvd
2150 Hempstead Turnpike
|Saratoga Race Course
267 Union Ave
810 Yonkers Ave
8315 Park Road
|Finger Lakes Racetrack
5857 NY 96
|Goshen Historic Track
44 Park Place
204 Route 17B
|Saratoga Harness Track
342 Jefferson St
2384 W River Rd
4229 Stuhlman Rd
5820 South Park Ave
Off-Track Betting in New York
Five government-run public benefit corporations control off-track betting locations (OTBs) across the state. Each corporation maintains a current list of OTB locations below:
- Capital OTB Locations (Capital District region)
- Interbets OTB Locations (Catskills region)
- Suffolk OTB Locations (Suffolk region)
- Nassau Downs OTB Locations (Nassau region)
- Western OTB Locations (Western region)
The Horse Racing and Pari-Mutuel Wagering division of the Gaming Commission oversees all racing betting activity.
NY Daily Fantasy Sports
New York continues to be one of the most trouble states for daily fantasy sports despite passing legislation to legalize the activity in 2016.
Fantasy sites first came to New York before the legality of fantasy contests was clear. After several years of operating in the state, the major DFS sites were forcibly ejected due to an unfavorable opinion from the Attorney General and subsequent cease-and-desist orders.
In November 2015, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman dealt a virtual deathblow to the daily fantasy sports industry in New York. He issued a pair of cease-and-desist letters to FanDuel and DraftKings that ordered both sites to stop operating within the state immediately.
The crux of the issue came down to the state’s top lawmaker making a fairly compelling argument that the daily fantasy sports model meets the state’s definition of illegal gambling. Major providers FanDuel and DraftKings fought the order, and experienced a number of ups and downs over the next year.
At one point, fantasy sites received a brief respite from Schneiderman’s cease and desist. They later pulled out again as a part of an agreement to help push two pro-legalization bills that were progressing through the state legislature.
The companion bills seeking to legalize and regulate fantasy sports in New York eventually made their way through the legislature to land on the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo. He signed the bills on August 3rd of 2016 to finally legalize real money daily fantasy sports.
Today, daily fantasy sites are required to pay an annual licensing fee of $50,000 and a 15% tax on revenue. The legislation also requires licensed fantasy sites to identify “highly experienced players” to other users, keep player funds segregated from operational funds, provide voluntary self-exclusion programs for customers and restrict access to anyone under the age of 18.
Unfortunately for DFS players, the story does not end there. Anti-gambling groups sued Governor Andrew Cuomo shortly after the passage of the fantasy sports law. The lawsuit is ongoing to this day. In 2020, an appeals court ruled against the daily fantasy industry by declaring the 2016 law unconstitutional. This story is ongoing, and the future is uncertain, but DFS sites are still active in New York.
Online Gambling in New York
New York has flirted with legalizing online gambling for years, particularly online poker. Lawmakers have shown no real interest in passing legislation to legalize online casinos in NY, but they have considered multiple bills to authorize online poker.
Pro-gambling lawmakers have introduced bills every year since 2014 in an attempt to authorize online poker in New York. Those efforts have failed to yield results to date, but the effort continues to this day.
Senator Joseph Addabbo has played a key role in pushing lawmakers to authorize online poker over the years. His efforts include the introduction of S 18 in 2019 and again in 2020, a bill that would classify poker as a game of skill rather than gambling.
Under S 18, online poker operators would be able to apply for licenses at a hefty price of $10 million each and then be subject to a 15% tax on gross revenue. The bill failed to progress in 2020, pushing New York online poker efforts over to 2021.
Past Effort to Legalize Online Poker in New York
Senator Bonacic introduced bill S6913 (full text) in March of 2014 to specifically address online poker. The stated purpose of the bill was to “authorize the New York State Gaming Commission to license certain entities to offer for play to the public certain variants of internet poker which require a significant degree of skill, specifically ‘Omaha Hold’em’ and ‘Texas Hold’em.’”
In short, the bill sought to legalize online poker and issue licenses to up to 10 operators inside the state of New York. Each license would cost $10,000,000 up front and be in effect for 10 years. Operators would be subject to a 15% tax rate.
In one piece of the legislation titled “justification,” Senator Bonacic argued that residents already compete in offshore, unregulated games hosed by foreign gaming sites. The bill wanted to address the dangers of offshore poker by regulating its own industry here at home. The licensing and regulatory measures would have ensured operators were held to a high standard while at the same time collect tax revenue for an activity that was already taking place anyways via offshore poker sites.
This bill did include a “bad actor” clause which would have barred any operators who continued to accept wagers from Americans after the passage and enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. This would have effectively banned PokerStars from New York forever.
The legislation also would have allowed New York to enter player-sharing agreements with other states that legalize online poker. Even today, this is a key piece of any poker legislation because it would allow players in New York to sit at tables with players from other states. The end result of any player sharing agreements would be greater liquidity for poker sites and more games for players.
S6913 never made it past the Racing, Gaming and Wagering committee. Bonacic introduced similar legislation in 2015 and 2016 also to no avail.
Odds of New York Poker Sites Becoming a Reality
The odds of something being passed over the next few years remain favorable. New Yorkers seem fairly receptive to gaming, with the people supporting last year’s measure to build up to 7 new brick-and-mortar casinos by a 57% yes vote.
Real life gambling and online poker are two completely different things of course, but people in most cases are generally even more receptive of poker than of games of chance. If the people are willing to accept casino gambling, they are probably willing to accept poker.
NY Online Lottery
The New York Lottery offers a subscription service for players who live within state lines. The service does not sell scratch cards or individual tickets à la carte but does allow customers to purchase subscriptions for its biggest draw games.
Players may manage up to 10 subscriptions at a time and either choose their own numbers or allow the lottery system to provide random picks.
MyNYLottery.org is the official website to buy NY Lottery tickets online. No other third-parties are authorized to sell NY Lottery products.
Games available for online subscriptions include:
- Mega Millions
- Cash 4 Life
- New York Lotto