As the title suggests, this article will discuss when New York State will legalize online sports betting. The first and most obvious step towards online sports betting legalization was taken when the state’s regulatory and legislative bodies passed the Sports Wagering In New York Act in January 2018. The law allows for up to four sportsbooks in the state, which operate under strict guidelines. It also allows licensed sports betting businesses to offer their services to New York residents. The new law does not, however, provide for the legalization of online sports betting. That is expected to happen in the future. What will that future look like, and when will it happen? This article will discuss the various factors that might influence whether or not New York State will legalize online sports betting in the future.
The 2019 NBA Season Has Begun. Will It Affect Sports Betting In The State?
The calendar has officially turned to a new year, and that means one thing: the 2019 NBA season has begun. The season is already halfway over, so sports fans in New York City and across the state are eagerly awaiting the upcoming NBA schedule so they can wager on their favorite games. The 2019 NBA season is the perfect opportunity to engage in some sports betting. So, will the upcoming NBA season affect New York State’s plan to legalize online sports betting?
It certainly won’t help. The NBA’s crackdown on gambling has been well-documented. In October 2018, the league put out a formal statement regarding the issue. In it, the league said that they “[are] committed to working with [their] partners in government and law enforcement to combat illegal sports betting and protect the integrity of the game.”
In other words, the 2019 NBA season will more than likely see increased enforcement of existing laws regarding sports betting. That is not good news for New York State, or any other state that is considering following suit and legalizing online sports betting. The crackdown from the NBA is just one of the various factors that could cause New York State to reconsider its position on online sports betting.
More Than Meets The Eye
One of the main concerns that New York State has when it comes to legalizing online sports betting is how to regulate and monitor the practice. According to a legislative report written by state senator Shirley Huntley (R-C-I-Queens), the state is seeking to establish a system “that is both effective and fair for the consumer.”
From the state’s point of view, the existing offshore betting sites pose a threat to the integrity of the sports betting market in New York. Offshore betting sites allow for illegal gambling, which could potentially attract people who might otherwise choose to gamble legally in New York. What’s more, the possibility of illegal activity and manipulation on online betting sites is a cause for concern. The potential for abuse is far too great to ignore.
That is why the state is seeking to regulate and monitor online sports betting. The implementation and oversight of such a system will be the responsibility of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. In other words, the NYS racing and betting board will have full control over the legal sports betting market in New York. This structure seems reasonable and fair to me. After all, NYSRWB oversees all forms of gambling in the state, and it is responsible for establishing guidelines for all sportsbooks in the state.
In addition to establishing regulations for the legal and commercial exploitation of sports betting, the NYSRWB will also be responsible for designing and administering a program that educates recreational bettors regarding the risks and responsibilities of gambling. Without proper education and regulation, gambling can be a slippery slope toward problem gambling. Legalizing online sports betting in New York will help protect the state’s youth from the ravages of gambling.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling In December 2018
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Mazars v. Gentry in December 2018 that the Federal Wire Act did not apply to states. Therefore, online gambling advocates in New York and other states can now breathe a sigh of relief. For years, the Federal Wire Act has been used to criminally prosecute online gambling activities. However, in the wake of the SCOTUS ruling, states can now regulate and tax online gambling activities. As a result of the SCOTUS ruling, the case was dismissed, and Gentry was free to operate his business as usual. In other words, states can now oversee and regulate iGaming (Internet gaming) and online sports betting.
For a state to legalize online sports betting, it must fulfill the following criteria:
- The state must have a net gain in tax revenue,
- Teachers and students must not be negatively impacted,
- Punitive action must not be taken against websites or individual websites must be responsible for their own actions, and,
- Racetracks, sportsbooks, and casinos must be licensed.
Based on the SCOTUS ruling in the Mazars v. Gentry case, it is clear that New York State can and should legalize online sports betting. The various factors that will affect whether or not online sports betting will be legalized in the future include, but are not limited to, the following:
The Presidential Election Of 2020
Every four years, Americans head to the polls to elect a President. This year is no different, as the presidential election of 2020 is currently in full swing. One of the candidates, Bernie Sanders, has centered his campaign on issues related to economic equality. Along with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), he has denounced corporate greed and called for a tax on the ultra-rich. Both men are staunch supporters of the working class and the poor. In other words, they are fighting for the little guy.
A President who represents the working class and stands up for the little guy will almost certainly legalize online sports betting. For years, Republican presidents have been the bane of online sports bettors. However, in 2020, the tables have turned, and Democratic presidents are working hard to prove that they, too, are supporters of the working class. If they can win back the White House, they will have a good chance of legalizing online sports betting.
The U.S. Census
The U.S. Census is always a significant factor when it comes to estimating the size of the U.S. population. The census determines what population groups are deemed eligible to vote and how many seats each state is allowed to have in the U.S. House of Representatives. The census also has an effect on how much federal funding each state receives.
Just because New York State is considering legalizing online sports betting, it does not mean that the population has suddenly become interested in placing sports wagers. The truth is that the 2020 U.S. Census will be the first to include an option for people to participate in the optional sports betting census. In other words, people can now choose whether or not they want to participate in the census, and if they choose to participate, they will be asked a range of questions about their interest in sports betting. The information gathered will then be used to determine how much funding each state receives from the federal government.
The U.S. economy is currently in a state of flux due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It began with the sudden closing of many businesses and organizations. Since then, the economy has struggled to find its footing. The uncertainty created by the pandemic has made investors nervous, and that has driven down stock prices and interest rates. What’s more, fewer people have been working, and that has created an undersupply of labor. That is likely to change as more and more people are returning to work. However, until then, the economy will continue to be impacted, at least in part, by the ongoing pandemic.
In the past, when the economy was thriving, people were more likely to be interested in engaging in wagering activities. The more than 100-year-old horse racing industry in New York has largely been kept alive by online gambling. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, online sports betting was still a lucrative market in New York. It allowed for people to place bets while avoiding the crowded city streets and crowded bars that the old school bookmakers were known for.
As the economy begins to improve, people are likely to return to more traditional sporting activities, especially those that can be followed live via the internet. That means one thing: the opportunity for online sports betting will arise once more.
The Sports Authority
Sports betting enthusiasts in New York are likely to see that as the state considers legalizing online sports betting, the corporate parent of the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers, and the New York Yankees will make a concerted effort to ensure that its businesses are not disadvantaged.