Mid this month, the Empire State saw the launch of its very first regulated sportsbook. This comes six years after the enabling law was passed and a little over a year since the United Supreme Court abolished the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Sports betting in the state was authorized under a voter-approved referendum back n 2013, a measure that came with some conditions. Most notably, New York’s sports betting activities were limited to four upstate casinos.
As it stands, sports betting in the state is still limited to in-person or retail betting at the upstate gambling facilities. It was speculated that New York would follow in the footsteps of the neighboring states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey by adding online wagering to the bill. Unfortunately, this never came to be as the state seemingly snubbed any attempts to modernize the bill. Still, it goes without saying that the new law is a small but significant step for the state as it continues its efforts to clean up its sports betting laws.
There has been a little skepticism with regards to the state’s sports betting industry but things are beginning to slowly take shape. While there is no ongoing legislative push for an expanded sports betting framework, the New York State Gaming Commission has commissioned a study that seeks to weigh the feasibility of launching online gambling.
The firsts sportsbook to go live was the one at Rivers Casino in Schenectady and it marked its grand opening with a grand ceremony whose attendees included a number of public figures including politicians and athletes.
The next sports betting facility to launch was opened by the FanDuel Group at Tioga Downs in Nichols. This became the very first sportsbook in the Southern Tier of New York.
New Options for Northern Pennsylvanian Gamblers
Even though sports betting is now legal in the Empire State, most of the bettors in the state are still able to access legal gambling options in the neighboring states easily. Some even prefer them. But it is definitely a start, and, as it turns out, New York’s sports betting facilities are also beginning to draw in gamblers from neighboring states.
For instance, the FanDuel Sportsbook that is located at Tioga Downs is quite close to the northeast Pennsylvania border – it is just about 30 miles south of Binghamton, NY and just 15 minutes from the Pennsylvania state line. As such, it is located strategically enough to attract customers from the Keystone State especially considering that, Hollywood Sportsbook in Harrisburg and Parx Sportsbook in Bensalem, the closest sportsbooks are about three hours away.