Why New York Sports Betting Doesn't Allow Gambling on Certain Props?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: May 18, 2023 08:00 PM
Why New York Sports Betting Doesn't Allow Gambling on Certain Props?

More than a year has now passed since New York legalized sports betting. The venture has by and large been considered a success by all involved. The state is grappling with some underage gambling concerns and the excessive advertising that might fuel them. For the most part, though, New York sports betting has arrived and thrived as intended—both financially and logistically.

And yet, despite the relative success of expanded gambling in The Empire State, New Yorkers have still found they are limited in one major area: props betting.

To be sure, New York allows betting on props. But not all props. Certain types of wagers were excluded from their gambling legislature, and more than a year later, nothing's changed.

Which types of bets are off limits? What's the rationale behind this stance? And equally important, will it ever change? Let's dig into the details.

Which Props Aren't Allowed by New York Sports Betting Laws?

Gamblers first started recognizing prop restrictions ahead of the 2022 Super Bowl. Indeed, everything was explained in the state's gaming laws. But many interpreted the legalization of online sports betting in New York to mean every kind of wager was fair game. Still, back in early 2022, it was easy to chalk up the limitations to temporary glitches, or at least something bettors would circle back to later.

Fast forward a few months. Gamblers are starting to take extra notice all over again. The tipping point was the 2022-23 NBA season. New Yorkers tried to bet on NBA props and found they were precluded from doing so. Once again, they weren't prevented from investing in all props. They could bet the over/under on the number of points scored by Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics. They could bet on which NBA team would win the opening tip. Heck, they could even bet on how the first basket of a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors would be scored.

It was a different story when attempting to bet on NBA awards. They would visit some of the most popular online New York sportsbooks and find they couldn't even see betting odds to win NBA MVP. They ran into identical issues when it came to other prop futures, such as the scoring title and assists leader.

Mind you, the NBA wasn't—and still isn't—the only league for which this holds true. New Yorkers cannot bet on year-end awards or season-long statistical leaders in the NFL, NHL, MLB or MLS. This raises the question: What gives?

The Reason New Yorkers Aren't Allowed to Bet on Year-End Awards

Confusion over New York's gaming laws crept up again in February 2023, just in time for another round of Super Bowl betting. Gamblers found they could invest in wagers like the over/under on Patrick Mahomes' passing yards, but they couldn't wager on events linked to the halftime show, commercials, ticket sales, etc.

This prompted a number of outlets to explain what was going on. Even now, as betting on the 2023 NBA playoffs crescendos, outlets continue to post about New York's complicated prop betting laws. The folks over at the Gothamist recently did a good job describing the details. "Obscure Super Bowl prop bets are a driver of revenue for many sports gambling outfits, but not in New York," Jon Campbell wrote. "Unlike some states, New York’s sports wagering law requires all bets to be tied to the game itself—and state regulators retain the final say on what is and is not allowed."

More than a year into the New York sports betting era, plenty of people are now aware of these rules. But many still aren't. That, frankly, speaks to a failure of messaging. Bettors shouldn't have to Google search "New York prop betting rules." These restrictions should have been more plainly explained and communicated all the way back in 2022.

New York's ambiguous interpretations also aren't helping matters. Some instances might be cut and dry. Super Bowl commercials have nothing to do with the actual game. It makes sense that they're off limits, according to the laws in place. But year-end awards are absolutely linked to the outcomes of contests. You can't win NFL MVP—or any pro-sport award—if you don't play.

The state can counter by saying all bets must be related to a singular event rather than the entire season or multiple games. But that would be inaccurate. New York allows residents to bet on NFL futures like the Super Bowl Champion and how many games a team might win. Their decision to rope off year-end awards and stat leaders is inconsistent at best.

Will New York Prop Betting Laws Ever Change?

Our motto remains "never say never." New York sports betting laws can absolutely be expanded to include more props in the future.

We just wouldn't count on it happening anytime soon.

Revenue is flowing through The Empire State as the gaming laws currently stand. New York has already generated over $930 million in additional tax revenue through April 2023. They are now on the verge of becoming the most lucrative (legal) gambling market in the United States. There's little reason for them to overhaul an infrastructure that's not handcuffing profits.

Even so, we'd bank on New York reconsidering their position. Eventually. After all, they're just letting even more revenue walk out the door. New Yorkers are able to bet on more props elsewhere if they're so inclined. The vast majority of sites that appear in our reviews of the best online sportsbooks make it easy for anyone in the United States to place any type of sports bet—New Yorkers included.

Those alternatives are worth exploring for anyone dedicated to investing in year-end awards. Things might change in The Empire State down the line. For now, though, New York sports betting plans to keep restricting the availability of certain props.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

Online Sports Betting may receive compensation if you sign up through our links. Rest assured, we avoid biases and provide honest opinions on sportsbooks. Read more here.