Following the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act ("PASPA"), states across the country have moved quickly to set up legal sports gambling markets in their respective jurisdictions. Recent developments out of New York and Rhode Island are likely to have significant impacts for those interested in this space.

What are the sports gambling updates out of New York and Rhode Island?

All eyes were on the New York State Legislature as the legislative session was set to end on June 20, with legislators yet to vote on a bill to legalize sports gambling that had been introduced the previous week. However, legislators allowed the session to end without even putting the bill to a vote. While New York lawmakers have cast blame for the failure in many directions, they remain hopeful that legalization efforts will move quickly in 2019. Nevertheless, it is anticipated that the four New York commercial casinos approved in 2013 will be permitted to accept sports wagering in the coming months if and when the New York State Gaming Commission enacts appropriate regulations.

Rhode Island, on the other hand, did not allow an opportunity to legalize sports gambling to pass by, enacting sports gambling legislation as part of a recent budget package. The legislation allows the State's two casinos to offer sports betting through the Rhode Island lottery, with a target date of October 1 for initial operations. Rhode Island sports gambling will be limited to in-person wagering, as mobile betting is not yet permitted. Additionally, wagering on college sports that take place in Rhode Island, or sporting events that involve any Rhode Island college team, will be prohibited. The Rhode Island law vests power in the director of the Lottery Division to promulgate a regulatory framework governing sports gambling.

What does the Future Hold for Sports Gambling?

Rhode Island is now the third state to formally legalize sports gambling this year following the decision to strike down PASPA. As demonstrated by the State's absolute restriction on mobile sports gambling, each state that intervenes in the sports gambling arena is anticipated to do so in its own unique way. While New York failed in its most recent efforts to legalize sports gambling, legislators are already talking about the possibility of moving quickly towards a new legalization push in the near future. This uneven regulatory climate will continue until federal legislation, which puts uniform rules of the road in place, is enacted. Until such time, however, given the rapidly-evolving regulatory climate, it is critical that those interested in entering this space work closely with knowledgeable gaming lawyers to review all aspects of their prospective licensing applications and associated offerings.

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