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Sports betting comes to New York on Saturday ... are arena kiosks next?

SPO-ARENA-BARCLAYS CENTER Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

New York State announced Thursday that legal online sports betting can begin Saturday morning. Fans will be able to bet on anything from wins and losses to spreads to individual performances, even trades.

As Mike Mazzeo of PlayNY.com wrote Thursday...

New York State Gaming Commission announced Thursday that four sportsbooks — Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street — can begin accepting legal bets on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

NY becomes the 18th state to have full online sports betting. The NYSGC announced the nine winning operators — part of a pair of Super Bids — on Nov. 8. Exactly two months later, there will be launch.

Prior to Saturday, New Yorkers had to physically travel to New Jersey to bet on sporting events via various betting apps. Proponents of sports betting in New York have estimated that 25 percent of the New Jersey’s sports book revenues came from their residents crossing the Hudson. The launch won’t involve the opening of any brick-and-mortar sports books, just legal online access.

However, there are bills in both the State Senate and Assembly that would permit sports venues like Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden and possibly Nassau Coliseum to have gambling kiosks on venue premises. No word on when that might happen, but in comments over the last year, Joe Tsai has spoken about the possibilities for sports gambling and other fan experience enhancements. As Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report wrote early in the year, Barclays Center has indeed been active in lobbying for sports betting.

Sports betting, Tsai predicted in a NetsDaily interview on October 29, will be a big part of fan experience, depending on state and local laws.

“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. 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,” said Tsai., adding with a laugh, “because people tend to get more emotionally involved when money is involved.”

The betting will not just be on the games, but as Mike Mazzeo of PlayNY has written, expect gambling on things like whether Kevin Durant will make his next shot or what trades might look like! “Transfer days” in European soccer leagues, akin to the NBA trade deadline, are among the biggest revenue producers for sports books.

Tsai said the league is all-in on sports betting.

“Despite all the potential risks and pitfalls of integrity and all that, I think generally speaking the league and the teams are very positive about the future of sports betting,” Tsai told ND. “It will bring a lot of economic benefit to the teams and to the league obviously.”

The financial benefit to teams, he said, will come “indirectly.”

“The way we are going to benefit is through marketing dollars and people willing to spend their marketing budget on the Nets in order to have access to our fanbase,” he said of all the sport book operators. “All these betting guys want to get access to our fanbase. And that’s our economics.”

And as far back as Joe Tsai’s purchase of the Nets in late 2019, there have been reports of interest in adding gambling to the arena experience. David Levy, then CEO of the Nets and Barclays, suggested the possibility that fans might be able to bet from their seats using an internal 5G connection. The Nets have also trademarked the terms, “Bet on Brooklyn” and “Brooklyn Gaming” in recent years.