In about two months, New Yorkers should be able to place legal sports bets within state limits now that the state Gaming Commission has started the clock on the public comment period.
Finally. It's been 10 months since the Supreme Court issued a ruling that legalized sports betting in the other 49 states besides Nevada. Since then, New York residents have waited while the state has sat on its hands. I'm still trying to figure out why. The state Legislature only meets through June but nothing could be settled by then meaning we could not bet on an entire season of NFL and college football, which denied the state of hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars of revenue.
Since the Legislature had already approved the framework of sports betting rules years ago, why has it taken this long, basically a year to get sports betting underway? Then again when you realize this is the government we're talking about, it all makes sense.
It's a shame that our neighbors in New Jersey, the state that is responsible for the Supreme Court decision, were the leaders who not only started taking sports bets in casinos but offering mobile and online wagering which enticed New Yorkers to cross the border.
In January, with the NFL playoffs going on, the Garden State took in almost $400 million in sports bets. Now some of that goes to the casinos as well as the state but no matter how it's divided, that is a huge amount of money and it's easy to say that a decent amount came from New York residents who bet with their phones.
Even when sports gambling is finally active in New York, we won't be able to use our phones to place bets. We will have to drive to del Lago in Tyre or Turning Stone in Verona or any of the other upstate casinos to wager.
I get the reasoning, these casinos needs the bodies inside the facility, to play other games or to eat. They have to make as much money as possible, it's basic economics. And that's what New Jersey did for a few months, but they know that mobile betting is the future and they embraced it. The casinos are still getting something, which is better than nothing.
In New York, we hear this lame reason that the state constitution doesn't allow mobile sports betting and it would take two years to change the rules. The exact language isn't clear, it could be legal.
Well, then sports gambling in New York is going to pale to New Jersey. Since the majority of the state's population lives in the New York City area, the gamblers are going to make the short drive across the Hudson to New Jersey to bet on their phones instead of driving hours upstate.
New York is going to lose thousands of dollars in revenue to New Jersey and probably Pennsylvania and Massachusetts after those states legalize mobile sports betting. A fair compromise would have been to give the casinos six months to a year exclusivity before mobile sports betting was allowed.
To hear Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticize mobile sports betting because New Jersey only received $11 MILLION last year is laughable. $11 million is more than NOTHING that New York got.
Look, it's good to know that some kind of sports gambling will start in New York later this spring. But New York will be losing sports gambling revenue to its neighbors because it won't make the effort to enact mobile betting.