Mobile Sports Betting Looks Unlikey to Start Soon in NY

Questions over constitutionality continues to stand in the way

Brian Mazurowski
June 19, 2019 - 10:41 am

Albany, NY (WBEN) - Hope is dwindling for those who want to see sports betting allowed in more than just a handful of casinos across New York.

With potentially hours left to go in the State Legislative session, it doesn't appear that mobile sports betting will come to the state any time soon as questions over the constitutionality of the idea continues to stand in the way.

"It seems like the parties are dug in now," said Henry Wojtaszek, President of Batavia Downs and Western OTB. "Speaker Heastie and the Governor have both indicated that they have Constitutional concerns. They have had a lot of people weighing in with a lot of legal memos to both the Governor's office and to the Assembly, but I don't think they've overcome their concerns."

Sports betting on mobile devices is permitted in New Jersey. FanDuel has said this year that the online sports betting company can attribute 25% of its online New Jersey sports betting activity to New Yorkers who cross the border simply to make a wager on their phone.

If the betting laws can't be changed through legislation, when is the soonest mobile betting can be permitted?

"If they do have to go the Constitutional amendment route it will take three years," Wojtaszek said. "The industry will be well underway. You'll have other people that will have clients in New Jersey and other border places around us, including Canada."

Still, Wojtasek said that if that is the way the law needs to change, he will be ready to see it through.

New York State will not be completely without sports betting if the legislature does not act. Just last week, the New York Gaming commission approved rules that would allow sports books to open in four commercial casinos located in Sullivan County; the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Schenectady. Native American owned casinos, including the ones in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, will also be allowed to accept in-person bets.

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