Featured in this article:
  • New York online sportsbooks will launch in early 2022.
  • But retail sportsbooks are still limited to upstate casinos.
  • A new bill seeks to allow arenas, stadiums, and racinos to host live sports betting kiosks.

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Resorts World Catskills is seen during its public opening in Monticello, N.Y. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

New York is in the midst of a massive sports betting rollout, but one state lawmaker is already considering the next steps. Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Queens) has filed a bill to expand wagering options for his constituents downstate, in the New York City area.

Online sports betting will soon be live throughout New York. The sportsbooks that will be live at launch have been granted licenses and are going through final testing and due diligence. But live, in person wagering is still restricted to upstate casinos. Sen. Addabbo’s Senate Bill S7536 looks to change that.

What Would the New York Sports Betting Bill Change?

Currently, bettors looking to experience the excitement of a live sportsbook need to venture either upstate or cross into New Jersey or Connecticut. New York City residents need to drive approximately two hours from central Manhattan to find the closest casino with sports betting.

Downtown New York

Manhattan residents have no local options for visiting a live sportsbook.

Senate Bill S7536 would allow the newly licensed mobile sportsbook operators to open live betting kiosks at designated locations throughout the state. These affiliate locations could include the Aqueduct Racino near Sen. Addabbo’s home district in Queens.

It is unclear if the betting kiosks would be taxed differently than online wagering. New York is going to collect 51% of all online sportsbook revenue, which may depress the overall performance of the market.

Other possible locations for betting kiosks include stadiums, arenas, and OTBs. Under the new bill, Knicks fans may be able to place a wager on the concourse at Madison Square Garden.

Bill Also Wants to Legalize Fixed Odds Horse Race Betting

Another aspect of SB S7536 is to allow fixed odds horse race betting in New York. Currently, horse racing operates on a pari-mutuel basis, where all bets are pooled, and odds constantly adjust based on betting patterns.

Fixed odds horse racing is more akin to other forms of sports betting, where you place a wager and lock in your odds. Therefore, it is seen as more welcoming to newer and younger bettors. Players are used to putting down a moneyline bet and knowing the payoff if their pick comes through.

Addabbo

State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.
By Ronzoni at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65906500

Pari-mutuel betting has formed the backbone of the horse racing industry in America and allowed it to distinguish itself from other forms of wagering. However, newer players and online operators both like the certainty of fixed odds racing.

Currently, only New Jersey has legalized fixed odds horse race betting.

Downstate Casinos Part of New York Gambling Push

In another bill backed by Sen. Addabbo, the lawmaker is asking New York regulators to speed up the licensure of downstate casinos. Under a constitutional amendment passed eight years ago, New Yorkers opened the state to commercial casino gambling. However, voters also required any downstate casinos not be licensed before 2023.

The plan eventually called for three casinos within the New York City area: one in the city itself, with one on Long Island and the third in the Lower Hudson Valley. Two of these casinos already exist, only as limited video lottery terminal racinos.

Empire Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World New York City, at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens would have their licensing fast-tracked under this bill. Each could become a full, resort-style casino by the end of 2022.

These measures still face significant hurdles but may be just another aspect of New York’s massive overhaul of its gambling laws in 2021.

Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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