New York Sports Betting Laws
One of the best pieces of information we have for users of New York sportsbooks is that, federal sports betting laws notwithstanding, the Empire State’s own laws don’t contain any language addressing online gambling of any kind. That is a very good thing indeed, because New York sports betting laws do impact the pastime generally – including explicit bans on book-making specifically and general bans on other forms of gambling except the state-sanctioned lotteries. This mixed bag of a legal situation is actually an exceedingly favorable one for most sports betting enthusiasts, as legal offshore-based New York sportsbooks are readily available online, where 100 percent overseas legality and all the legitimacy that status brings with it meets 100 percent immunity from stricter US gambling laws.
New York sports betting laws’ prohibitions against gambling are found right in Article 1, Section 9 of the state Constitution, but as the astute reader will no doubt see, the penalties levied against violators apply only to operators of illegal gambling operations and not to individual or “casual” gamblers. State bans against illegal gambling, no matter whether it’s selling unauthorized lotto ticket, or engaging in pool-selling or book-making, don’t have any actual legal impact on the people who might buy in to these modes of gambling. Even more significant is the fact that, since the legal New York-friendly sportsbooks based in foreign countries like SportsBetting, BetOnline and 5Dimes are the only way to place wagers on sports in the Empire State, there is very little possibility of a player ever being found in violation or feeling the impact of New York sports betting laws.
As we discuss in our guide to the federal laws impacting New York sports betting, there is an effort being led by the New Jersey state legislature to have the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The foundation of New Jersey’s case is that PASPA, which effectively bans sports betting in all but four states (Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon) violates the doctrine of Equal Sovereignty and should be repealed accordingly. Equal Sovereignty is, at its core, another way of looking at the question of states’ rights that goes all the way back to the founding of the United States in the late 18th century, and the Garden States’ lawmakers evidently see PASPA, with its different legal impacts for different states, as a problem.
That’s all well and good, but how would this affect users of New York-friendly online sportsbooks? For starters, if New Jersey’s case is upheld in the Supreme Court and the law is struck down, or if a bill to repeal and replace PASPA in the US Congress goes through, then sports betting would become legal nationwide by default. Now, of course, betting on sports is only legal in a few locations around the country or at offshore sportsbook sites that accept New York players and players in other states.
But the Empire State isn’t pinning all its hopes on what happens in the Congress or in New Jersey’s day before the highest court in the land. Far from it, in fact, as Democratic New York Senator Tony Avella introduced a proposed bill during the 2017 legislative session that would have changed the New York sports betting laws to allow casinos and horse-racing venues to offer sports betting opportunities to guests. This plan would, however, be contingent upon PASPA’s repeal, and it wasn’t passed during the session.
Even though the desired outcome hasn’t been achieved as yet, it is encouraging to think, whether or not New Jersey succeeds in getting PASPA eliminated, states like Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and others all seem to be gearing up to push the issue of making sports betting legal one day. That day can’t come soon enough for states in desperate need of additional revenue streams to support their otherwise booming economies. Legalized domestically operated New York sportsbooks could positively impact the Empire State’s bottom line, including a GDP boost well north of $455 million and total tax revenues that could top out at almost $191 million.