This month, the State of New York has seen two new developments that will have a significant effect on the gambling industry. The first is the beginning of legalized sports betting at one upstate New York casino, and the second is the state’s “decision to commission a study examining every aspect of gambling in New York.”
On July 16, 2019, Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady began offering sports betting to its patrons. According to the New York Post, state regulations make in-person sports betting legal at New York’s other three upstate casinos (Del Lago, Resorts World Catskills and Tioga Downs) and at tribal casinos; however, those casinos must “submit individual applications” in order to conduct betting on sports. Despite efforts by some gambling interests, mobile sports betting has not been legalized in New York.
Also, the Albany Times Union recently reported that the State of New York is planning to study the gambling industry. According to the Times Union, a “request for proposals to oversee such a study was quietly issued by the state Gaming Commission last month, and a firm is scheduled to be chosen in August to conduct the comprehensive review. A final report would be due by the end of the year.” The timing of the proposed study is odd, given that the state passed a constitutional amendment allowing upstate casinos on non-Indian lands in 2013 without studying much of anything. Gambling interests are concerned about whether the findings from such a study will lead to policy changes that could cut into their profits.
At New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation, we’re hoping that the proposed study will lay out all of the harms caused by state-licensed gambling, and that our policymakers will abandon their longstanding embrace of this predatory industry. We’re not holding our breath, though.