• Buffalo Bills lobbyists are angling for live, in-game, in-stadium betting at New Era Field in Orchard Park.
  • The Meadowlands sportsbook shows that on-site wagering is the future for NFL betting.

ALBANY, N.Y. – Despite the NFL’s long-running insistence that sports wagering is detrimental to the brand, the Buffalo Bills are lobbying for in-stadium gambling in New York. This comes amid wider talks of sports betting regulation in the state.

Sports wagering is technically already legal in New York and has been for some time. In 2013, the public voted in a binding referendum to expand gaming and legalize sports wagering pending changes to federal law.

Thus, since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned by the Supreme Court in May 2018, sports betting has been legal in the state. This is currently limited to the four new upstate casino venues, though none has opened an operational sportsbook to date.

This is due to the fact that, before New York sportsbooks go live, state lawmakers have to hammer out regulations and tax standards for all aspects of the industry they’re willing to implement. These talks include considerations for statewide mobile and online betting, and – if the Bills have their way – betting at actual sporting venues like their own New Era Field in Orchard Park.

According to a report from ProFootballTalk, Pegula Sports and Entertainment – owners of the Bills and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, have hired a lobbying firm to promote in-stadium gaming at the state assembly in Albany.

It is unclear whether or not the Bills are also trying to lobby the state government for a cut of the sports betting handle in the form of “integrity fees.” That sticking point could be obviated by whatever deal allows for stadium-based wagering, of course.

The Bills Are Not Alone In Supporting In-Stadium Sports Betting

The Bills are far from the only NFL property that supports offering sports wagering on-site during games. The Oakland Raiders, who next year will play in Las Vegas, have long backed the idea.

In Sin City, most large casino chains operate statewide online betting sites, all of which would be available and accessible from the new Las Vegas Raiders Stadium. This is a different mechanism for in-stadium betting than that proposed by the Bills, but it is fundamentally the same thing from a moral or “integrity” standpoint.

Indeed, in terms of the spirit of the thing, sports wagering on NFL games is already happening in an in-stadium context at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

meadowlands_sports_complex

The Meadowlands Sports Complex is home to both MetLife Stadium, where the NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants play, and to Meadowlands Racetrack, a racino venue that has an on-site sportsbook operated by FanDuel. In addition to this proximity, bettors can also wager from their seats in MetLife Stadium, thanks to New Jersey’s statewide mobile betting laws.

With an entire season of NFL betting in the books at The Meadowlands, in-stadium and in-venue gambling has proven extremely popular. The Big M sportsbook earned a total seasonal revenue of $42,522,454, which equates to a total handle of roughly $710,000,000 (assuming an average 6% hold).

If the NFL and its constituent clubs want in on that money, they’re going to have to play ball. In-stadium and mobile betting are the future for legal sports betting, and now’s the time to cash in.

The Bills are running the best play they’ve drawn up in ages.

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