Mobile sports wagering could still make final NY budget
Legal Sports Report

Cuomo Leaves ‘Irresponsible’ Mobile NY Sports Betting Out Of Budget Proposal

NY sports betting

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ended his budget proposal speech to the state legislature Tuesday by calling the state the “progressive capital of the nation.” That progress, though, will not include bringing NY sports betting into the digital age.

Despite the state facing a $6 billion budget deficit, Cuomo did not call for added revenue from authorizing mobile NY sports betting in his executive budget for the fiscal year 2021.

Cuomo expressed concern that states were passing New York by in building, but didn’t fret that states are passing by New York in sports betting.

Cuomo even seemed to call new forms of gaming such as mobile sports betting “irresponsible” in his address:

“There’s no gimmicks. There’s no new casino revenue. … This is not the time to come up with creative although irresponsible revenue sources to solve a problem which doesn’t really exist.”

NY sports betting gets a mention in the budget

There is one mention of NY sports betting in the budget briefing book, though it’s not what New Yorkers who would like to wager without traveling upstate wanted.

The budget proposal allows for sports betting in New York to occur outside of casino lounges, while still constrained to casino property.

Here’s the language:

Amend Sports Wagering Lounge Restrictions. Current law requires that wagering on sports be exclusively operated in a casino’s designated sports wagering lounge. The Budget ends this restriction by allowing for sports wagering outside the lounge, but still within the casino, per Gaming Commission regulations.

In other words, if you’re too tired from the drive upstate to make it from the garage to the sportsbook, you might be able to place bets from other parts of the casino property.

Senator to continue fight for mobile in budget

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. called for Cuomo to include mobile NY sports betting and the expediting of three downstate-casino licenses to raise more than $1 billion in revenue.

Sports betting revenue at New York’s upstate commercial casinos have disappointed. Legal Sports Report pointed out that even tiny Delaware, with 5% of the population of New York, more than doubles the Empire State in monthly sports betting revenue.

Addabbo lamented that a sizable percentage of mobile New Jersey sports betting comes from New York residents crossing the border because it’s the most convenient option to place legal wagers.

Addabbo, who recently advanced his NY mobile wagering bill through the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee to spark budget discussions, says he will continue pushing for its inclusion in the final budget.

Addabbo said in a statement:

“I am hopeful that mobile sports betting is on a similar road as some other issues, such as paid family leave and medical marijuana, which were initially rejected by the governor. Fortunately, these initiatives are now in place to benefit the people of our state, as would mobile sports betting. I look forward to working with the governor’s administration, the state legislative leadership, and my colleagues on this matter during budget negotiations.”

What’s next for NY mobile sports betting

Cuomo’s executive budget is just the beginning of budget negotiations in the state that will go on for more than two months.

Each legislative chamber will come up with its own budget proposal and then work out a final version in the state to go into effect on April 1.

Last year, the Senate included mobile sports betting in its budget proposal, but the Assembly did not and it wasn’t part of the final package. With Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie siding with the governor on mobile sports wagering, that appears to be the likely result again.

Mobile NY sports wagering might have a better chance of passing as a legislative bill following release of the initial draft of a comprehensive gaming study requested by the New York State Gaming Commission. The session concludes on June 2.

Matthew Kredell
- Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with online sportsbook pioneer Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.
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