“Over the years the law has not stopped sports betting, instead it has created a $150 billion dollar industry that operates online, underground and offshore,” said state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, a member of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee. “Allowing sports betting in our upstate casinos brings sports betting out of the shadows and at a benefit to the taxpayers. It levels the playing field so we can create a responsible market for sports betting in a safe regulated manner.”
The draft rules are subject to a 60-day public comment period that will end May 20. The draft hues closely to what was outlined by commission staff at a Jan. 28 Gaming Commission meeting at which the commissioners agreed to go forward with sports gambling.
The earliest the commission could adopt the rules would be late May, though it has the option of taking longer, if there are substantive comments. Following that adoption, Rivers and the other casinos would need to submit applications for sports gambling to the commission for individual approval, leaving it likely that it will be into summer before the casinos can actually start taking sports bets.
Moore said the sports lounge design and some other application information has already been shared with the Gaming Commission.
The draft rules would allow betting on all professional sports, subject to each league and type of bet being approved by the commission. It would prohibit betting on amateur sports except for some college contests; however, betting in sports involving New York state-based colleges — whether Syracuse basketball or Union hockey — will be prohibited.
Betting on horse races — regulated separately by the state — will also be prohibited at the casinos.
The proposed rules will require that sports betting be done in a separate area from the main gaming floor of at least 500 square feet. Assuming the casinos partner with a larger sports pool operator, the pool operator will also be subject to commission review and approval.
The commission acted after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called for the state to allow sports betting, limited to the four upstate casinos. The other upstate casinos are Del Lago in Seneca County, Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County, and Tioga Downs in Tioga County.
In 2013, when New York passed a law authorizing construction of four casinos, a provision authorized casinos, including Rivers, to offer in-person sports betting if it ever became legal.
In May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal statute that restricted state-sponsored sports betting to primarily Nevada. Since the ruling, legal sports gambling has opened in neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Other states have also legalized it or are expected to do so.
The Cuomo administration believes allowing sports betting at any additional locations, such as the Saratoga Casino Hotel, would require an amendment to the state Constitution — a complex multi-year process that ends with a statewide voter referendum.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, firstname.lastname@example.org or@gazettesteve on Twitter.