Are sports betting kiosks next for gaming in New York State?

Madison Square Garden sports betting kiosks
FILE PHOTO: People walk outside Madison Square Garden before a Knicks game amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 23, 2021. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

The dust is only beginning to settle less than a week into legalized mobile sports betting in New York State, but as analysts and state lawmakers make sense of a historic opening weekend, the natural order of the world is to ask what comes next. 

The answer may well lie in two separate bills in the New York State Senate and Assembly that would allow for mobile sports betting Kiosks to be placed inside professional sports venues within the state. That could potentially include Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, and UBS Arena on Long Island. 

New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. first introduced his bill in November that would allow for sporting venues to install mobile betting kiosks, as well allow for nine qualified sports betting operators to take horse racing bets on mobile apps. A month later, Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow introduced a similar bill in the Assembly. 

The push for the gaming kiosks started after several New York City venues indicated that they would be interested in having them in their buildings, Assemblyman Pretlow said during a phone interview with amNewYork. Part of the appeal, Assemblyman Pretlow explained, was that people tend to enjoy placing their wagers around others or during events. 

“My experience has been that people that do bet on sports like to do it in the company of others. Very few people sit in a room by themselves, unless they’re professionals,” he said. “They tend to like to bet during games with each other and this would afford them the opportunity also.”

For Senator Addabbo, it’s about how to improve mobile sports betting. Senator Addabbo believes that addressing both the kiosk issue and allowing the merger for sports betting apps to work with horse racing operators to include mobile wagers for the sport allows a better experience for the consumer.

Senator Addabbo said during a phone interview that he has had very positive conversations with his colleagues about his bill, specifically the mobile horse betting aspect of it. “That conversation that’s been so positive around mobile sports betting, we’re just going to stretch out a little bit more and say hey we can incorporate horse racing and do even better,” he said.

Both Assemblyman Pretlow and Senator Addabbo will attempt to put the sports betting kiosks and mobile wagering for horse racing issues in the upcoming state budget and if that doesn’t happen then they’ll go through the legislative process.  Assemblyman Pretlow said he hadn’t spoke to anyone in  Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office. 

The two New York Lawmakers said they were approached by venue operators in the state when crafting their legislation. “Their representatives approached us to put it in our bill,” Assemblyman Pretlow said. 

Senator Addabbo started getting input from the area sports venues and teams back when he first introduced SB1183 last January.

“The Buffalo Sabres were in my office. We heard from Madison Square Garden, we heard from interested parties,” Senator Addabbo said. “Back then we got the input about Kiosks and stadiums and arenas, and I’m thinking the sentiment is the same that they would love to partake.”

Area sports teams seem to be embracing the idea of mobile gaming. Madison Square Garden has already inked partnership deals with Ceasers Sportsbook and BetMGM. 

Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai has also expressed an anticipation that sports betting would be a growing part of the fan experience. 

“In the future, when you’re watching the game or consuming the content on digital, the digital platform enables the fan to interact in various different ways,” Tsai told NetsDaily. “You can bet on the digital platform. So betting itself is a huge fan engagement tool. It enables the fan to become much, much more emotionally involved. … People tend to get more emotionally involved when money is involved.”