The Status of Legal Sports Betting in Michigan and New York

The Status of Legal Sports Betting in Michigan and New York

The states of Michigan and New York both had opportunities to join others offering sports betting this year, but both were unable to make good on them before their legislative sessions were closed.

Both states are looking at that missed opportunity with different perspectives however, as for New York the glass appears half empty while in Michigan it appears half full. For Michigan advancing sports betting to the forefront can be viewed as progress, but New York’s struggle when compared to neighbor New Jersey’s victory carries a much more negative undertone.

NY Forced to Watch NJ Market Open

Not only will New Jersey be allowing sports betting, it will reportedly be doing so in New York City’s backyard. The Meadowlands Racetrack, located near the home of the Giants and Jets, will be open for business soon and business will be booming as its new sportsbook will potentially draw millions to its betting booths.

Such a benefit is well-earned by New Jersey due to the state’s victory in its Supreme Court battle to repeal PASPA, the 1992 federal ban on sports betting, last month. That doesn’t make its competitive edge in the market over New York sting any less.

While some in New York’s legislature attempted to get sports betting going, it ended up overall not receiving enough support. Bronx Democratic Senator Carl Heastie admitted that “significant issues” had been brought to the attention of New York’s assembly regarding bets made at casinos and on mobile devices. He had the correct inclination that the bill would not be passed this year.

“I would say at this point, there isn’t enough support within the Democratic conference to forward on sports gambling. I don’t know if a week is enough. Sometimes that can be a lifetime. But the broad spectrum of concerns members raised, I don’t know if that can be resolved.”

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow still believes that betting could be allowed this year at the state’s four commercial casinos: del Lago Resort and Casino, Tioga Downs Casino (owned by the same developer as Meadowlands Racetrack), Rivers Casino and Resort Schenectady and Resorts World Catskills. He also reiterated the massive population of the state and the huge numbers of people who would be drawn to New Jersey to bet.

“What’s going to happen because we don’t have mobile betting is that people downstate are going to go to New Jersey to bet. All they have to do is go across the bridge and be geolocated in the state.”

New York Passage Still Key for Industry

The implications of potential legal sports betting in New York are still massive and worth taking seriously. A year of watching the New Jersey market likely prosper could jump-start politicians and rekindle efforts by the time the next session opens. Pretlow was looking forward to observing the success or ultimate failure of New Jersey to put up substantial revenue.

“I’m hoping Jersey throws out some big numbers, because our [eventual] numbers will be three times the numbers in New Jersey, If they do a good number, that will be enough selling point for me to get the bill passed next year.”

That would be good news for sports betting as a whole as a recent report by Washington-based research group GamblingCompliance predicts big things for the state. The report claims New York will surpass Las Vegas by the time the year 2023 rolls around and become the largest sports betting market in the nation. That would no doubt lead to an increase in much-needed competition within the fledgling American sports betting industry.

Michigan Looking to Continue Momentum

Michigan adjourned its session on Tuesday, but the overwhelming feeling is that it will stay the course towards sports betting which began in earnest this year. A sports betting bill was passed by the state House just a few weeks ago, and it’s expected to continue through the Senate swiftly according to Republican Rep. Brandt Iden.

Iden assured pro-sports betting advocates in the state that Michigan would “be at the forefront” of the new gambling movement sweeping the nation and that deliberations would begin “when we come back in the fall.”

“I believe that the tribal casinos ended up with 90-plus percent of what they wanted in this. It will allow internet gaming as it pertains to all the games currently allowed in a brick and mortar casino, that’d be poker, roulette, black jack, craps. You’d be able to play that online. If (a casino) doesn’t have a physical presence here, they’re not going to be able to do it. The Michigan gaming commission is looking for the Legislature to take the initial step. They believe they have the parameters to do it, but one of the things we need to set up is that tax rate. And we took the first step toward that today.”

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