New York is one of the newest states in the sports betting field. When the state legislature finally approved the sports gambling bill this summer, no one knew when sportsbooks would open.
The sportsbooks have only been open for a few weeks. However, the Empire State is getting a taste of the revenue gleaned from sports gambling. The results look promising.
Sports Gambling in New York
Considering that New Jersey was one of the first states to legalize sports gambling. New York wanted to follow in its neighbor’s footsteps. New Jersey was the state that directly challenged the authority of the federal government to regulate sports gambling. It argued that if it only allowed sports gambling within its borders, the feds couldn’t regulate it. The U.S. Constitution states the federal government could only regulate commerce between states. The federal government also has the power to regulate commerce between nations.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed and ruled the federal law prohibiting sports gambling unconstitutional. New Jersey quickly legalized sports gambling. Several other states along the East Coast followed, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island. New York tried in vain to pass legislation legalizing sports gambling in 2018. After a lot of griping and positioning, the state finally passed the law in June.
Opening Up the Sportsbooks
Currently, only two commercial casinos are operating sportsbooks in New York State. Rivers Casino, which is in Schenectady, has a betting lounge open for sportsbooks. The Rivers sportsbook betting lounge has 5,000 square feet of gambling space. Eighty people can fit into the area at one time. It also has an 18-seat VIP area. There are big-screen TVs and six betting kiosks.
In addition to Rivers Casino, Tioga Downs Casino also has a live sportsbook. This location is a racino. The sportsbook is one of the first in the country run by FanDuel. Tioga Downs also has a sportsbook lounge, with a bar, big-screen TVs, and mobile betting kiosks. Tioga Downs does not have VIP seating in its sportsbook, but it is a different atmosphere than Rivers Casino.
The Tale of the Numbers
The gaming commission of New York cautioned that the revenue figures would be low at first. This is especially true since the state has no online or mobile gambling available. The state released the preliminary figures to demonstrate that sports gambling will be profitable. For the first two weeks, the two casinos generated $350,000 in revenue.
Both casinos are several hours north of the main market in New York City. The commission also noted that August is a notoriously slow month for gambling because it is not football season. Football and basketball seasons are historically the most profitable for sportsbooks. Of the two casinos with sportsbooks, River’s Casino was the most profitable. The sportsbook opened in mid-July and saw nearly $300,000 in its first four weeks. The most profitable period for the casino sportsbook happened in the first five days. During those five days, Rivers hauled in $168,000.
Tioga Downs didn’t rake in the same amount as Rivers. However, it managed to pull in $55,000 in its first month. Not too shabby during a lean gambling month. The gambling commission expects New York to pull in between $10 million and $30 million from sportsbook tax revenue. The state also expects to see more money when the commission approves online and mobile sportsbooks. This should occur within the next few months.
The Empire State may have to wait awhile before it can catch up to the Garden State. But, given the population of New York City, New York may eventually overtake New Jersey.
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