Addabbo: Competing Mobile NY Sports Betting Proposals Have ‘Common Ground’

Written By Matthew Waters on March 15, 2021
NY sports betting

Mobile NY sports betting appears as closer as ever before to legalization, with support from both the Assembly and Senate.

The Assembly moved first with mobile NY sports betting included in its one-house budget late Saturday. The Assembly is arguably the more important of the two chambers for this issue since it is usually the chamber that fails to act on mobile betting.

New York’s Senate then followed suit Sunday with similar mobile betting provisions in its one-house budget. The details in both budgets reflect S 1183 and A 1257, both of which passed their respective committees in January. Both chambers will vote to approve those budgets Monday.

Nothing is guaranteed at this point but it’s better than past years, Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. told LSR on Monday.

“This is a good position to be in as we really start serious discussions of the budget at this point,” Addabbo said. “… I really am hoping the Governor’s office looks at this and goes OK, we can work with this model, let’s just work on some of the numbers.”

Proposed NY mobile sports betting details

Here are the basics for mobile NY sports betting under both budgets:

  • There would be 14 skins available by way of the state’s four commercial casinos and three tribal operators. The Senate budget would expand that market through more casinos.
  • Each mobile sports betting operator would pay $12 million up front for its five-year license.
  • Mobile sports betting revenue would be taxed at 12%.
  • Off-track betting facilities, horse tracks and professional sports stadiums and arenas could host mobile betting kiosks. The professional stadiums and arenas would need a minimum of 15,000 seats. Those agreements would be delayed, though. Any tracks or the Resorts World casino at Aqueduct would have to wait 12 months after the budget is approved before they can offer kiosks. Stadiums and arenas would have to wait 20 months.

Those figures, of course, will come down to negotiations between now and April 1 when the budget is due. Taxes, upfront fees, number of skins and more are all points that could change during negotiations, Addabbo said.

“I really am hoping the Governor’s office looks at this and goes OK, we can work with this model, let’s just work on some of the numbers,” Addabbo said.

Less desirable elements as well

The legislation proposed in both budgets is far from perfect as operators will be forced to pay additional fees for nothing in return.

Official league data is required to settle all in-play bets and could be required for tier three bets. The budget stipulates that data must come at “commercially reasonable terms as determined by the commission.”

The budgets also require what they call a royalty fee, or integrity fee, paid to US sports leagues. Operators would pay 0.2% of handle bet on a specific league to that league’s governing body.

What about Cuomo’s NY sports betting proposal?

Remember that this isn’t the only mobile betting proposal for New York this year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally signaled support of mobile sports betting earlier this year but disappointed most with his lottery-style proposal.

Cuomo, though, might not be in a position to push his legislation. He’s got a variety of issues to deal with including multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and covering up nursing home deaths related to the pandemic.

There hasn’t been much discussion about Cuomo’s proposal since it was made, which could be a good sign for the models proposed in the Assembly and Senate budgets, Addabbo said:

“I think the fact that the governor’s office really hasn’t displayed any sense of detail with regards to his proposal allows us the opportunity to insert detail. So we start with the common ground that we believe mobile sports betting will start this year. From there, that common ground, we go forward on negotiating and looking at what is the best model for our state both short-term and long-term and sustainability for market of growth.”

Senate would add 6 more skins through new casinos

Much more important to New York’s budget than mobile betting is a section in the Senate budget that allows three more casinos in the state.

The additional casino licenses would help create a bigger online NY sports betting market with six more sports betting skins.

The Senate budget would allow those three additional licenses to be awarded sooner than 2023, which is current state law. Those licenses would go for a minimum of $500 million, adding $1.5 billion to New York’s coffers in fiscal 2022.

The Senate is looking for a quick turnaround on those licenses too. A request for applications would be issued on or before July 1.  Gaming regulators would then award those licenses no later than 150 days after receiving the applications.

The applications would also be scored on quickness with 10% of the decision based on speed to market.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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