No Mobile Betting in New York in 2019. What are Longterm Prospects?

Cameron Smith

The latest state budget for New York makes it clear that mobile sports betting almost certainly will miss the Empire State in 2018. But what about longer term prospects for future years?

It's almost impossible to predict how a state like New York might react to changing mores and the gradual but almost inescapable spread of mobile sports betting. While there are currently just two states with legal mobile betting — New Jersey and West Virginia — and handful of others are trailing closely behind. Rhode Island is expected to have operational mobile sports betting through the two casinos in the state (taking part in the mobile operations will first require an in person registration at one of the brick and mortar casinos). Massachusetts currently has three different sports betting bills working their way through the state legislature, and all include the legalization of some form of mobile gambling. And while other states like Indiana and Illinois, on the cusp of legalization, have so far not included mobile gambling, there's renewed optimism that a mobile component will be added back into legislation.

All of that is to say that there's likely to be strength in numbers behind the concept of legalized mobile wagering. Still, the most persuasive argument for longtime New York governor Andrew Cuomo may come from his next-door neighbors.

New Jersey continues to be the centerpiece of mobile sports gambling in America. The Garden State has 13 different available mobile sports betting Apps, led by longtime Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) leaders DraftKings and Fan Duel. Both DraftKings and Fan Duel have left a major imprint on the state, driving more wagering than any of their competitors while also placing a stake in the ground relative to how they plan to do business in other states moving forward.

In turn, that's important as states consider how and who to award licenses to. While those details could prove to precipitate frustrating delays in the future, none of those factors will undermine the single largest motivating factor that should turn Cuomo's head: New Jersey will continue to gobble up New York bettors like a shark until New York develops its own mobile wagering platform.

While attempting to guess the next move from a career power politician like Cuomo is always a loser's game — and mobile gambling may very well fall within the bounds of the "bad actions" that Cuomo is personally motivated to keep out of New York — it says here that the difference in revenue New York sees without mobile gambling should be enough to move forward in the years ahead, whether that's 2020, 2021 or no some budget in the near term.