Home to a bevy of historic sports franchises, major media corporations, professional sports league headquarters, and a pool of thousands of new sports bettors, New York’s foray into legal sports gambling has been closely scrutinized.
With the intersection of competing interests, many with deep pockets, it is no wonder that practically every sports betting industry development within the state garners bold headlines. Not only will legalized mobile sports betting in New York have a profound effect on how the four major North America professional sports leagues adjust their policies on gambling, the model in the Empire State could serve as an archetype for how a host of others establish legal markets in the years to come.
Decades from now, a fully mature market in New York would likely rival Nevada and New Jersey as the preferred U.S. destination for legal sports betting. Yet, months after the Supreme Court rendered its historic decision on sports betting, leaders in New York proceeded cautiously on legalizing the activity.
Here is our guide on sports gambling in New York. We’ll take a comprehensive look at sports betting initiatives in the Empire State, both from an online and retail perspective. Sick of driving across the George Washington Bridge to place a three-team parlay on your smartphone? We’ll touch on mobile sports wagering developments throughout the state.
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Is sports betting legal in New York?
Yes! Legal sports betting in New York dates back to 2013 when the state passed the upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act. The measure amended the New York state constitution and authorized four unbuilt casinos to eventually accept sports wagering. At the time, the casinos had been prohibited from opening sports wagering facilities due to a decades-old federal ban on sports betting. The ban, however, was, lifted when the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in May 2018.
In June 2019, the New York State Gaming Commission approved a set of final regulations that pave the way for the debut of legalized sports betting at the aforementioned Upstate casinos. During a closely-watched meeting, the Commission considered a set of regulations that would allow sports wagering at gaming facilities pursuant to Article 13 of the state’s Racing Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law. The motion passed without opposition, by a 6-0 vote.
The regulations enabled the four casinos and their gaming partners to launch sportsbook operations upon the completion of a license application process set forth by the Commission.
- Del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County (DraftKings)
- Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County (Bet365)
- Rivers Casino in Schenectady County (Rush Street Interactive/BetRivers and Kambi Group plc)
- Tioga Downs in Tioga County (Betfair US/FanDuel Sportsbook)
Rivers became the first retail casino in state history to accept a legalized sports bet on July 16, 2019, when a 5,000 square ft. sports lounge powered by Rush Street and Kambi opened its doors. A sportsbook at Tioga Downs followed with its debut days later.
Mobile betting legalization in New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo long took the position that a constitutional amendment was needed to authorize sports gambling at locations beyond the state’s existing Upstate casinos. All that changed in spring of 2021 when the Governor and legislative leaders hammered out a compromise to legalize mobile sports betting statewide that was signed into law as part of the state budget.
Of course, it all came down to money. New York’s state revenues were decimated by COVID, and tax revenue from mobile sports betting would be significant, to say the least. So the state leaders put aside their differences and came together to get mobile sports betting done. The regulatory framework is still being finalized, but the New York Gaming Commission is in charge of regulating mobile sports betting in the state, and back in July 2021 they requested applications to select one or more sportsbook operators to offer mobile betting statewide. It was up to the operators to detail in their application how much they were willing to hand over to the state in the form of a tax rate. It is expected that the operators selected will be taxed somewhere between 49 and 52 percent, which would be far and away the highest tax rate in the country. Operators will pay that huge tax after paying a $25 million (!!) fee for a sports betting license. Operating in NY is not for the faint of heart or pocketbook.
That said, even 50% of the potential revenues from mobile sports betting in NY is A LOT of revenue. New York will immediately be one of the largest markets in the nation, and could end up overtaking New Jersey as the #1 sports betting state based on revenue. In the end, we expect several different sportsbooks to end up going live in NY. Companies with an existing presence in the state having a significant upper hand, mostly because NY requires all mobile wagers to be processed by a computer server located at an existing casino in the state. Any company without an existing retail casino in the state will have to come to an agreement with one of the retail casinos to place their servers at that location.
Further details will emerge as the regulatory process wraps up and the winning applications are unveiled. We will update this page whenever new information is announced.
NY sports betting at tribal and non-commercial casinos
In January 2019, Caesars Entertainment inked a partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation that allowed for sports betting to be brought to three Central New York locations. Under the deal, Caesars opened sports betting lounges at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, as well as Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango and Point Place Casino in Bridgeport.
The deal with Caesars positioned the Oneida nation to be among the first tribal groups in the U.S. to open a legal sportsbook. New York tribal groups had several tools at their disposal to make legal sports betting happen. The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) views sports gambling as a Class III gaming activity, the same designation it has given to pari-mutuel betting. Furthermore, a three-decades old tribal gaming law, the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), requires states to allow sports betting for tribal groups if the state authorizes the activity for non-tribal gaming operators.
There are a dozen tribal casinos in New York, the majority located west of the state capital in Albany. In addition to Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Yellow Brick Road Casino, and Point Place Casino, sportsbooks are in operation at Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, Seneca Niagara Casino, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. The Saint Regis Mohawk Nation opened a sportsbook at a casino located near the Canadian border, the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort.
Tribal and non-commercial NY sports betting venues
- Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort
- Point Place Casino
- Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino
- Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino
- Seneca Niagara Casino
- Turning Stone Resort & Casino
- Yellow Brick Road Casino
Land-based sportsbooks — full list
|Casino or OTB||Partner||Location|
|Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort||FOX Bet||Hogansburg|
|Del Lago Resort & Casino||DraftKings||Waterloo|
|Point Place Casino||Caesars||Bridgeport|
|Resorts World Catskills||Bet365||Monticello|
|Rivers Casino||Rush Street and Kambi||Schenectady|
|Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino||Salamanca|
|Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino||Buffalo|
|Seneca Niagara Casino||Niagara Falls|
|Tioga Downs||Betfair US/FanDuel||Nichols|
|Turning Stone Resort & Casino||Caesars||Verona|
|Yellow Brick Road Casino||Caesars||Chittenango|
Potential NY mobile/online sports betting operators
Although online sports betting is not yet available in New York, there are a handful of operators positioned to offer these products should the state allow it.
Bet365 has a partnership in place with Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County. The agreement was put in place in November 2018 to allow Bet365 to offer mobile/online sports betting should NY approve it and they qualify for a license.
Rivers Casino in Schenectady is already up and running, in partnership with Rush Street Interactive and Kambi. The company’s mobile/online sports betting brand, Bet Rivers, should be launched as soon as the state allows for it to happen. Bet Rivers is already operational in neighboring Pennsylvania and SugarHouse, its sister brand, is live in New Jersey and Connecticut.
Through its partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation, Caesars is operating sportsbooks at Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Yellow Brick Road Casino, and Point Place Casino. Caesars has operational mobile/online sports betting products in other states and it is expected Caesars will launch a similar mobile/online platform in NY once allowed.
DraftKings is partnered with del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County, via an agreement that was put in place in July 2018. DraftKings is expected to launch a mobile/online sports betting platform in the Empire State once allowed to do so. It is also expected that DraftKings will become a market leader in the space, drawing from the company’s brand power and experience with sports betting in other states.
FanDuel is partnered with Tioga Downs and, like DraftKings, has plans to bring its mobile/online sports betting platform to the state once allowed to do so. NY has the potential to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, legal sports betting market in the U.S. and FanDuel is expected to be a major player.
The Stars Group’s mobile/online sports betting brand, FOX Bet, has a partnership in place with Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. The Stars Group is a powerful global gaming brand and FOX Bet has the potential to challenge DraftKings and other top operators in NY once mobile/online betting opens up.[/vc_column_text][penci_text_block block_title_align=”style-title-left”]
New York Sports Betting FAQs
Yes, legal sports betting is available in NY state, but at this time only retail sports betting is available at brick-and-mortar establishments.
Mobile sports betting has been legalized, but is not yet available. State regulators are hammering out the final details. We expect at least a few sportsbooks to go live in the state sometime in early 2022.
It depends on the location. Some venues have a legal gambling age of 18, while others require you to be a minimum of 21 years old. The legal age for mobile betting is 21.
Yes. With only retail sports betting available in New York at this time, bettors are required to attend a physical location within the state in order to wager. Bettors using their smartphones or laptop browsers to bet will have to use geolocation technology to verify that they are physically located within state boundaries before being able to place a bet.
There are several major sports teams in New York that bettors can wager on. Yes, some of them actually play in New Jersey, but they are supported by New Yorkers.
- Buffalo Bills (NFL)
- New York Giants (NFL)
- New York Jets (NFL)
- Brooklyn Nets (NBA)
- New York Knicks (NBA)
- New York Liberty (WNBA)
- New York Mets (MLB)
- New York Yankees (MLB)
- Buffalo Sabres (NHL)
- New York Islanders (NHL)
- New York Rangers (NHL)
- New York City FC (MLS)
- New York Red Bulls (MLS)
Recent history of New York sports betting
Following the retirement of John Bonacic at the end of the 2018 legislative session, the prospects of legalized sports betting in New York could have been in flux. But Bonacic, a longtime Republican from the 42nd district, passed the mantle to Addabbo, his longtime ally on the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.
As a parting gift, Bonacic laid the groundwork for the legalization of sports betting in the Empire State. In March 2018, weeks before the Supreme Court’s decision, Bonacic introduced legislation to amend the sports betting provisions of the 2013 act. At the time, Bonacic described sports betting as a revenue enhancer for education initiatives in New York. While Bonacic’s bill ultimately died at the end of the 2018 legislative session, the legislation authored by Addabbo was largely based on the framework.
While New Jersey continues to capitalize on the popularity of smartphone wagering, New York did not offer the activity for the 2019 or 2020 NFL seasons. Though Pretlow initially expressed confidence that New York could legalize mobile sports betting in 2020, his optimism faded as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation.
In spring of 2021, Pretlow, Addabbo, and Governor Cuomo all came together and found a way to legalize mobile sports betting. For a while during the legislative session it felt like everything was about to fall apart, but in the end they all compromised and worked through any differences to ensure that bettors will no longer have to travel to a neighboring state to wager. With New Yorkers now able to wager online in their own state, it’s just a matter of time before New York becomes the biggest sports betting market in the country.