Legal sports betting finally arrives in New York
Legal Sports Report

The Week In Sports Betting: New York Gets a Taste, Pennsylvania Gets The Whole Shebang

sports betting news

Greetings, fellow humans, and welcome to another rundown of the recent sports betting news.

We actually have a lot to cover this time around, so let’s get after it. This week’s recap begins in the Northeast, on the home turf of your lowly scribe.

New York has legal sports betting!

Almost six years after the enabling law passed and 14 months after PASPA fell, the first regulated sportsbooks finally popped up in New York last week. If you thought this day would never come, you’re not alone.

Rivers Schenectady was the first NY casino to take a legal bet, holding its grand opening ceremonies on Tuesday. Tioga Downs followed a day later with the long-awaited debut of its FanDuel Sportsbook on property. Our friends at TheLines got a look at the space before it opened, and the folks at FanDuel have outdone themselves.

Location, however, is an issue for every NY sportsbook.

The Empire State might be the most populous one with legal wagering, but it is in no position to dominate. NY sports betting is limited to upstate and tribal casinos — none of which are centrally located — and the lack of online betting will limit the market’s ceiling.

An effort to expand that framework via additional legislation came up short once again this year. The NYS Gaming Commission will instead commission a study to weigh the appetite for online betting and its potential impacts.

Even with legal options in their own state, most NY bettors still live closer to legal options in neighboring states. But hey, it’s a start. And it’s a handy addition for folks in the greater Buffalo and Syracuse areas.

Arkansas is the only other market that has opened in 2019, bringing the total to 10 US states with legal sports betting. These two won’t be the last this year, though, with Iowa and Indiana among those scrambling to launch before football season.

Online PA sports betting catches on

Residents of New York’s Southern Tier are among the group that finds itself geographically closer to legal sports betting in Pennsylvania. While brick-and-mortar casinos are sparse in the region, PA sports betting is now available anywhere inside the borders of the Commonwealth via the internet.

Regulators published their June report last week, and data from the first month of online betting looks good.

Handle reached a new record during the leanest part of the calendar, with 40% of action coming from online/mobile bettors. It was $46.3 million in handle for those PA sportsbooks in June, yielding $3.1 million in revenue.

That number is especially encouraging considering there was just one online sportsbook — SugarHouse Sportsbook — open for the whole month. The digital products from Parx and Rivers were only available for the last week or so.

The summer rollout of online platforms figures to bode well for the busy fall sports betting season. Lessons from neighboring New Jersey tell us that online bets could represent closer to 80% of the total in a mature Pennsylvania market.

North Carolina sports betting bill raises up

It looks like we’re about to add another state to the list of those with legal sports betting.

Lawmakers in North Carolina passed S 154 last week, a tribal bill allowing the Cherokee to offer sports betting at two Appalachian casinos. Caesars operates the Harrah’s-branded properties there, so it has the only path into the retail-only market for now.

NC sports betting will look good despite the geographical limitations.

The Cherokee casinos will be able to book action on professional and collegiate sports, including in-state powerhouses Duke and UNC. Unlike their colleagues in some nearby states — sup Tennessee — lawmakers in NC rejected an effort to ban betting on their own teams. They also turned down an attempt to include daily fantasy sports provisions in the package.

The bill from Sen. Jim Davis enjoyed bipartisan support in the legislature, and the sponsor expects a signature from Gov. Roy Cooper.

A second proposal seeking to study a broader, statewide implementation is also a favorite to pass before adjournment. That one has been hung up for a week or so but could get concurrence from the Senate shortly.

Lessons learned in sports betting

Writings from our resident legal mind John Holden taught us a thing or two last week:

We’ve also learned how to work around that pesky Apple issue that has disrupted legal online gambling in some markets. A new App Store policy prohibits the so-called “container apps” developed by many operators, which left iPhone customers on the sidelines for a brief while.

Last week, though, GeoComply released a standalone app that allows iOS users to access gambling sites via the web browser on their device. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a suitable short-term fix while developers rebuild their code.

Read all about the workaround on PlayPennsylvania.

Sports betting news takes and tidbits

Here’s what else popped up on our sports betting news radar over the past seven days or so:

That’s enough to get you up to speed from last week, but who knows what this one might bring? Check back with us like it’s your job, and follow @LSPReport on Twitter for updates like it’s ours.

Happy Monday, y’all. Have an excellent week.

Eric Ramsey
- Eric is a reporter and writer covering regulated US gambling, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.
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