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New York Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. is looking for evidence to prove there is a large market for sports betting across the state, And he might just get it from the New York State Gaming Commission.
The agency recently issued a request for proposals, seeking a research firm to conduct a new gaming study. Its primary purpose will be to evaluate the desire for expanded NY sports betting and the potential impacts, both inside and outside the state.
Addabbo said in a press release:
“One of the major detractions against sports betting here in New York is that there is no appetite for it. This gaming market study proposed by the NYS Gaming Commission aims to find out exactly that.
“We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch as money that could be coming to our state goes to New Jersey and surrounding states that allow mobile sports betting. I believe that we can simultaneously address the issues related to problematic gaming, satisfy our constitutional requirements and credibly develop a gaming industry plan that maximizes its potential.”
Opposition from Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at least partially to blame for the lack of online betting in New York.
Addabbo led the way for the Senate to pass a bill during the final week of the legislative session in June.
His proposal would have allowed upstate casinos to take online and mobile bets statewide — including through affiliates at racetracks, off-track betting parlors, and sports facilities. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow told Legal Sports Report that the bill easily had the votes to pass the Assembly.
With the governor indicating he would veto the bill, however, Speaker Carl Heastie declined to call it for a vote.
Reasons for Cuomo’s reluctance to expand sports betting statewide center on the state Constitution and concerns over problem gambling. The sponsors worked to address both issues by:
Sports betting, first of all, does not make you that much money. New Jersey has sports betting, it’s on TV all the time. You can’t turn on the darn TV without seeing it. They raised something like $13 million dollars – $13 million dollars is a rounding error in our state. So I don’t even think the economic benefit is there.
Addabbo points out that New Jersey passed Nevada in sports betting handle, seeing $318.9 million in total wagers in May. In a hearing that month before Addabbo’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, a representative from FanDuel Sportsbook indicated that approximately 25% of its NJ customers are New York residents.
Here’s more from Addabbo:
“It’s frustrating to see those numbers and realize that money — and more — could be coming to New York to help our students and citizens. Eighty percent of tax revenue generated from gaming goes directly to educational funding, which means without having legal sports betting in New York with a mobile component, our children are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars.”
When New York legislators got voter approval to create four upstate casinos in 2013, they preemptively included provisions allowing them to offer sports betting if allowed by federal law.
Rivers Casino in Schenectady took the first legal sports bet in New York this week, which Addabbo sees as a step in the right direction.
“If New York is serious about raising revenue, improving programs to address gambling addiction, create jobs, regulate the existing illegal sports betting in our state and increase funding for our students,” he said, “then we must consider supplementing the current sport betting regulations with a mobile component.”
As of Friday, FanDuel Sportsbook is also open for business at Tioga Downs.