- Siena College poll in New York shows split regarding the legalization of online sports betting
- 44% support the option while 44% are opposed; 12% have no opinion
- Authorizing online sports betting could take years depending on if a constitutional change is needed
In 2013, New York’s legislators passed a law legalized sports betting on a limited basis. The law authorizes only casinos to allow the activity. However, the option was not federally recognized until May 2018. The New York Gaming Commission is now working on finalizing rules for the new industry, with online wagering currently excluded.
Siena College conducted a poll to see how residents of the state feel about sports betting. The poll found that voters were divided when it comes to the subject of online/mobile sports wagering legalization. A total of 778 registered voters were questioned during the poll with 44% voting in support and 44% voting against.
In the poll, Siena College found that men are more likely to support online sports wagering than women. Voters located in the upstate region were more opposed to the idea than voters in New York City. A total of 46% in favour to 42% opposed were upstate, while New York City voters were split 44% to 44%. Voters located in the suburbs were in favor of the idea.
When looking at the household incomes for the state, individuals with less than $50,000 (€44,304) in annual earnings, were in opposition. Individuals with incomes of more than $100,000 (€88,593) a year were in favor. Voters fitting into the $50,000 (€44,304) to $100,000 (€88,593) income bracket, were 48% in favor.
Director of the Siena College Research Institute Don Levy said: “Voters, aware that the state is expected to soon allow sports betting at four upstate commercial casinos, are evenly divided on broadening the sports betting law to allow for online betting.”
Sports betting operations
Based on the 2013 law, only the four authorized casinos in the state can offer services. These venues include the Resorts World Catskills, the Tioga Downs, the Rivers Casino & Resort and the del Lago Resort & Casino. Tribal operated casinos would also be allowed to offer services.
The law as it stands now does not allow for online sports betting or off-site betting. Wagers are also prohibited on college teams based in New York. Events involving college teams that take place in the state are also excluded from wagering.
The option to legalize online sports betting could be delayed by as much as three years, if an amendment is needed for the state constitution. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration feels that allowing bets outside the authorized casinos would require an amendment to be drafted.
Others disagree. Senator Joseph Addabbo, chair of the Senate Gaming Committee, believes that the state legislature could have the power to authorize online gaming without having to go the amendment route.
If an amendment must be created before mobile sports betting would be allowed, the change would have to pass within the Assembly and the Senate of New York before moving on to the voters for the final say. The soonest an amendment could appear on a general election ballot would be 2021.