New York’s Casino Landscape

Just like the Electoral College System, the gambling laws of this country are hard to understand and difficult to explain. In one American state, almost every form of gambling imaginable can be legal, whereas in another it is against the law to bet outside of tribal lands.

Here in New York, the gambling landscape is equally confusing with the constitution only permitting forms of gambling that are specifically legalized – state lotteries, live horse racing, off-track betting, racinos and Native American casinos.

Sports pools and games determined by an element of chance are outlawed in New York State, but that could be about to change. Read on to find out about the current casino landscape in New York and how change to the laws could be in the offing.

Are Casino Laws Changing?

There are a number of great casinos to visit in New York State, but at the time of writing all of them are operated by Native American tribes; the most famous being found in Verona, operated by the Oneida Indian Nation.

Traditionally lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo have been resistant to changing these laws and allowing a non-Native American operated casino in New York State.

However, hopes are high that all of that is about to change as Cuomo and other lawmakers look for new ways to redress a $15 billion shortfall in public funds.

Vornado Realty Trust are thought to have proposed the idea of a large casino on land that it owns near Harold Square. Further to this, L&L holding Company has proposed establishing a casino as part of a $2.5 billion development at the intersection of 47th Street and Broadway.

Support for these development plans are mounting as Real Estate firms and economists wake up to the possibility that a return to normalcy will be slow and staggered when the pandemic ends. Purpose-built casinos will provide tourists with yet another reason to visit New York, providing the city with a much needed economic stimulus.

New York Streets

Online Gambling

Another subsection of the gambling industry that is on the agenda for lawmakers is the online sector. Currently, if New Yorkers want to play with the best American online casinos, they are prohibited by the law.

However, similarly to their land-based counterparts, there is growing pressure on lawmakers to open up the online sector. Supporters of so-called iGambling point to the example set by neighbour New Jersey, who brought in average daily revenues of just over $3 million a day from a legalised and well-regulated online sector last year.

With the traditionally reserved attitudes of lawmakers towards gambling, the online sector may have to wait until non Native American land-based casinos are legalised before making a case for legalisation for itself.

Casino Sports Betting

Unlike other states that have directly legalised sports betting, Andrew Cuomo and New York State have taken a more confusing step toward legalisation.

In regards to sports betting, the Governor initially stated that he wanted a lottery-run, lone operator sports betting model in the state. However, last year much of the sports betting market was opened up to land-based casino companies.

At the beginning of this year, a state-backed survey was released which showed the economic potential of a fully legalised sports betting economy. The survey predicted that sports betting could bring in annual revenues of $1 billion in New York State, representing almost $100 million in tax revenues.

At the time of writing though, no major steps have been made towards opening up sports betting to the wider public. Football, basketball and baseball fans looking to place a wager on their favourite teams can only do so legally, by visiting a land-based casino and placing a physical bet.

Man Holding Phone

New York State’s Biggest Casinos

Despite the confusing and often contradictory gambling laws in the state, there are a handful of land-based casinos that have been flourishing in recent years. Here are two examples of successful casinos that are highlighted New York’s potential as a gambling market.

Turning Stone Resort Casino

Verona, New York

This venue opened to the public in July, 1993 and originally offered on and off-site PGA golf facilities, an amusement arcade and a number of restaurants and stores to its visitors. In 2002, it opened its doors to gamblers when the Seneca Niagara Casino was established.

It was the first land-based casino to open in New York and proved an instant hit with residents and tourists alike. Throughout its 19 years of operations, the casino has received numerous industry awards for its gambling facilities as well as rave reviews from visitors.

Economically, the casino is a major contributor to the public purse, employing 1,250 staff members and bringing in annual revenues of $350 million plus.

Resorts World Catskills

Monticello, New York

Three years ago when this $1.2 billion gambling Mecca was opened it was supposed to signal the success of Andrew Cuomo’s state-run, lottery-style gambling plans.

In reality, Resorts World Catskills which is situated 85 miles northwest of New York City has struggled to gain a foothold in the gambling world.

It has posted losses every quarter since opening, despite being one of the most modern and impressive gambling facilities in the State.

The reasons for its failure as a venue are multi-faceted, although critics are keen to point the finger of blame at Andrew Cuomo, who they believe has hamstrung the venue with his varying stipulations and rules.

Resorts World Catskills failure could be significant though, as it has increased pressure on Cuomo and lawmakers to allow the gambling industry more freedom to flourish as a private sector. It has also helped to persuade lawmakers that to succeed, a super casino would need to be situated much, much closer to New York City.

In Summary

The rules and etiquette of baccarat and craps can be hard to get your head around, but understanding the various gambling laws in New York State is a much tougher task.

Fortunately, though, the winds of change appear to be blowing through the hallways and offices of senior lawmakers. In the coming months and years, New York, like every other American State will have a major job on to restore the public purse to pre-Pandemic levels.

Manhattan based super casinos could provide the perfect relief to the public purse in the short-term, so don’t be surprised to see lawmakers adopt a more relaxed attitude to gambling in the not too distant future.