It’s an exciting time for sports enthusiasts in New York and across the country. The NBA season is in full swing, and the NHL season is just around the corner. The season kicks off with the New York Giants hosting their annual Thanksgiving Day game against the Dallas Cowboys this year. And who knows – maybe this year the New York Jets will even challenge for the Super Bowl title!
If you’re a sports bettor, you’re probably already dreaming of making some wagers this season. But just like everything else in New York, the legalities surrounding sports betting are tricky. Only last month the New York Attorney General launched an investigation into the legality of sports betting in the state. So it’s not yet clear when – or if – the practice will be okayed in New York. Here’s a look at the current status of sports betting in the Empire State.
What Is Legal?
Even before the investigation was launched, the practice of sports betting in New York was mostly illegal. To start with, there’s no such thing as “The Wall Street Journal” in New York, so the publication cannot legally claim to have “The Wall Street Journal College Baseball Package.” The New York Post, which is a part of the Dow Jones media group, is the only other major publication that covers university sports in the state. But in 2016, the Post ended its partnership with the NCAA and began charging for access to sporting events. Charging for content is unusual for a newspaper, but it’s still a wise move in an industry where people are always looking for value-adds.
But things are changing in New York. Since June 2017, it is legal for individuals to bet on sporting events in New York. However, the laws specifically forbid businesses from operating in New York for the purpose of betting. That being said, New Yorkers can still bet on sporting events for entertainment purposes. And since October 2017, it is legal for bookmakers to offer odds on both individual and corporate sports betting in the state.
Which means that as of right now, New York is a bit of a legal sports betting gray area. But that could change at any time. If the state legislature passes a law legalizing sports betting, it would take effect immediately.
While it’s not yet clear what impact the recent change in the law will have on the sports betting industry in general, it’s obvious that the change does affect certain activities and entities. One of the first things state lawmakers did after legal betting was made available was put an end to offshore betting rings. If you happen to be part of an offshore betting ring, it is now a huge offense in New York. And if your objective is to take advantage of others, to “fix” games or to place bets with the intent to defraud, those activities are now crimes as well in New York.
Even more importantly, it is now a crime to solicit bets in the state. That includes contacting bettors outside of New York or getting them to travel to the state to place wagers. Solicitation is also a major offense when performed online, so be careful when dealing with any type of online solicitation, even if the solicitation takes place outside of the state.
Where Can I Place My Bets?
In the meantime, it’s not yet clear where New Yorkers can go to place their wagers. There are still plenty of black markets where bets are placed, but those betting on sports professionally must hide their activities from the authorities. That means setting up accounts in other states or countries where gambling is legal or trying to find a way around legal restrictions altogether. The safest (and certainly the most convenient) option would be to use a site that is based abroad, but operates within the parameters of the law. That way you can rest assured that your betting activity won’t come back to haunt you. Or your bookmaker!
What About Wire Transactions?
One of the first concerns anyone in the betting business has is the possibility of getting caught up in a scam. That’s why it’s critical to deal with reputable sportsbooks that have a good reputation for being fair and honest. And it’s also why it’s imperative to make all transactions through legal and regulated avenues. That way you can be sure you’re not being scammed. Using cash in person is also a really good idea, especially if you’re meeting someone you don’t know or have never heard of. That’s because it’s much easier for someone to create a false identity and trick you into handing over cash. That’s why it’s always better to use a safe, trusted and established betting site. The fewer intermediaries there are between you and your money, the better.
The problem is that not all sports betting sites are created equal. Some are much better than others at providing a safe and fair environment for sports bettors. Many sites won’t even let you place a single bet without first proving you’re a resident of the United States. Others may charge per-week or per-month fees without providing any value. Some sites may ask for your bank details before allowing you to make a bet. That’s a huge red flag. Always make sure the site you’re dealing with is licensed and regulated, complies with all gambling laws and is a safe and secure environment.
Is The Wall Street Journal Still Eligible For The Newsstand Deal?
Another thing that has changed since the law allowing individual betting was passed is the eligibility of The Wall Street Journal for the Newsstand Deal. Before the change, the paper was not allowed to offer odds on college basketball or football in New York because they do not cover those sports professionally. If you’re a member of the newsstand club, you still need to pick up a copy of The Journal at the newsstand to take advantage of the reduced rates offered by those papers. But at least now you can find all the coverage of the New York Yankees you need without having to worry about whether or not the institution is licensed in the state.
What About The NFL, NCAA, And NBA?
The change in the law that allows for individual betting also applies to the NCAA and the NFL. So it’s not yet clear how that will affect the business of college and pro sports games. For example, does that mean that the salaries of players will become legal bets? Will they be able to accept wagers from other countries? Those are just a few of the many questions that arise. Only time will tell what impact this latest development will have on sports betting and the world of professional and college sports.
It’s important to keep in mind that just because sports are officially “legal” in New York it does not mean they’re good for your health. The health benefits of participating in physical activity are well established, so it is still a good idea to get involved in sports. But it’s also important to keep in mind that there are such things as unhealthy sports. For example, it’s a sad fact that pro-wrestling is sometimes used as a form of physical therapy for patients with brain injuries. So although you may be able to place a wager on your favorite football team, that doesn’t mean that watching sports and playing sports are necessarily good for your health.
Do I Have To Pay Taxes On Winnings?
One more thing to keep in mind is that you will have to pay taxes on your wagers just like everyone else does. Tax laws are notoriously complicated, and it’s not yet clear how the taxation of individual sports bets will work in practice. This could mean that you may have to pay some extra money at tax time. But at least you’ll know for sure that you’re not breaking any laws by placing sports bets.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with enough information to understand the current status of sports betting in New York. Even though it’s still a bit of a gray area, at least now you know exactly where things stand. And perhaps most importantly, it is still possible for you to take advantage of the many legal aspects of sports betting in New York.