In several states, the arrival of the NFL season comes with the option for NFL bettors to place legal wagers on the opening weekend of pro football games, but not in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or New York, at least not yet. Although these three states have already made sports betting legal within their borders, each state is facing their own unique set of circumstances and delays.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting
It looks like Harrisburg and Philadelphia areas might see legal sports betting sooner than in the Pittsburgh area, when it finally goes live in the Keystone State. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s sports betting landscape is quite possibly the biggest convoluted mess in the country.
Last October, Pennsylvania voted to legalize sports betting in the event that the Supreme Court would overturn PASPA, which it did in May this year. However, the state didn’t finalize sports betting regulations until last month. So far, Parx Casino in Buck County and Hollywood Casino in Bucks County have applied for licenses to offer sports betting, but the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board hasn’t yet voted on approval.
The PGCB doesn’t plan to vote on those applications until October, and if they vote to approve, it will take up to several months for the casinos to set up and go over their sportsbooks before sports betting can start. Regulators there seem to not sense the need to speed up their timetable to take the new football season into account, nor the MLB playoffs.
Licensing Fees in Pennsylvania
Perhaps the delay in the state’s other casinos’ applications for licensure is due to the $10 million fee for licenses and the combined 36 percent tax rate on casino sports betting revenue. This tax amount is much higher than all other states that have already started offering sports betting. It appears that the casino operators and the companies that run the sports betting operations are hoping that the lawmakers will reduce the tax rate to something like the 10 percent in West Virginia.
For now, most PA residents who want to place sports bets will have to travel to states where it’s offered legally like in New Jersey or West Virginia.
Rhode Island Sports Betting
Governor Gina Raimondo approved the state’s fiscal year budget that included the legalization of sports betting in Rhode Island, with the hopes that tax income would go to improve the state’s schools, care for foster kids, senior welfare, and programs for those with disabilities.
Having a look at RI’s budget, it appears they will benefit, indeed: Rhode Island has proposed that they have implemented the tax on sports betting at a whopping 51 percent. That’s by far the largest out of all the states that have so far passed sports betting legislation. Out of the total, the vendor will get only 32 percent. The vendor is IGT, which already has an office in Providence and works with the Rhode Island Lottery. IGT, a gaming company from the UK, will provide all of the sports betting technology. The remaining percentage of the sports betting revenue, 17 percent, will go to the two in-state casinos, Twin River Casino’s two locations.
Mobile Sports Betting in RI
Rhode Island does not plan on offering online sports betting, for two reasons: first, voters will need to vote on allowing mobile betting in the state, and second, the state wants to start out small and make sure everything is done right before expanding to mobile or online sports gambling.
Timeline for Sports Gambling in RI
The goal for Rhode Island was to have their sportsbooks up and accepting bets by October 1st, but that start date has now been pushed back to November. Unlike Mississippi and West Virginia, the Ocean State isn’t rushing to launch the sports betting process in time for the start of the NFL season, which may impact revenue for what’s left of this year. In fact, GoLocalProv has written that, according to Nevada data, Rhode Island will lose millions of dollars by missing out on MLB playoffs, the kickoff of the NHL season, NBA preseason games and the beginning of the regular season for collegiate and pro basketball.
New York Sports Betting
Although the Supreme Court struck down PASPA in May, effectively leaving it up to individual states to legalize sports betting, New York hasn’t made a move to capitalize on the opportunity. New York has legalized sports gambling via a 2013 bill that allows sports betting at the four Vegas-style casinos in the state, but there are no licensed, functioning sportsbooks taking bets. None of the regulations needed to get the industry up and running have been passed; the casino operators are waiting for the state gaming commission to issue regulations so they can open their sportsbooks and start taking advantage of the boost in revenue that sports betting will bring.
Potential future sports betting locations in New York include casinos in Monticello, Nichols, Waterloo, and Schenectady. For now, though, New Yorkers will have to travel to New Jersey to place legal sports bets.f
One of the major holdups in New York is whether or not the state will offer integrity fees from sports betting. It’s an industry hot topic that has been widely debated across many media outlets and even during an episode of our Odds on Favorites videocast.