NY Gaming Update: Poll Finds Majority Support Mobile Sports Betting, Curfew Ends

Posted on: March 18, 2021, 11:49h. 

Last updated on: March 19, 2021, 08:31h.

Support for mobile sports betting in New York appears to be at an all-time high.

New York Mobile Sports Betting
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds up a double-sided facemask during a Thursday announcement that features the New York Mets logo on one side and the New York Yankees on the other. On Wednesday, Cuomo announced he will lift the 11 pm curfew for the state’s casinos and racinos effective April 5. (Image: Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

That’s according to the latest poll from the Siena College Research Institute, which released its findings earlier this week.

The poll finds 51 percent of registered voters support expanding sports betting in the state to include online options. Only 30 percent oppose the concept, with 18 percent saying they either don’t know or have no opinion.

That marks the highest level of support the issue has had, as well as its least amount of opposition since the institute began asking the question. By contrast, in February 2019, voters then were evenly divided, with 44 percent supporting and opposing mobile sports betting at that time.

Lawmakers Discussing Mobile Sports Betting

The survey results are important because New York lawmakers are currently negotiating a 2021-22 budget for the fiscal year. That starts in less than two weeks. Both chambers have agreed on language that would give the state’s casinos the opportunity to partner with up to two mobile sports betting operators each.

Lawmakers, though, will need to win over Gov. Andrew Cuomo. While he has warmed to the concept, he’s pushed his own proposal. That calls for the state to operate sports betting similar to the lottery. It would partner with one, or maybe more, operators, and then split the proceeds.

The governor’s concerns about the lawmakers’ plan, which resembles what New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and most other states have approved, is that the state receives only a small portion of the revenues.

Both chambers call for mobile operators to pay $12 million for the license, and the state would tax their gross revenues at 12 percent.

Cuomo Lifts NY Casino Curfew

On Wednesday, Cuomo gave the state’s casinos some good news when he announced that New York’s COVID-19 curfew will soon end for those venues.

Effective on April 5, those venues will be able to operate at the same hours they did prior to the start of the pandemic a year ago. Capacity limits, currently set at 25 percent, will remain in effect.

The measure doesn’t just impact the four upstate casino resorts, it also benefits the video lottery terminal facilities that operate across the state, including MGM Resorts International’s Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway.

Starting on April 5, it will resume its normal 10 am to 6 am operating hours. An Empire City spokesperson told Casino.org Thursday the racino will continue to adhere to MGM’s COVID safety procedures, as well as all state guidelines.

We are pleased the curfew for casinos will be lifted in the coming weeks, and that we will be able to return more of our team members to work,” the spokesperson said. “Our focus remains on maintaining health and safety protocols to ensure our guests continue to have a safe entertainment destination in Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts.”

On Long Island, Delaware North’s Jake’s 58 Casino will return to its normal operating hours of 8 am to 4 am daily, Glen White, director of corporate communications for Delaware North told Casino.org.

While the gaming floor will be open, the casino’s restaurants will still close at 11 pm, White said, in accordance with Cuomo keeping the curfew in place for dining establishments.