Mobile NY Sports Betting Outlook Looks Bleak But Negotiations Continue

Posted on March 29, 2021
NY sports betting
Posted By on March 29, 2021

It sounds like everyone who got excited over a potential mobile NY sports betting agreement will be let down for another year.

Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. told LSR on Monday negotiations to include mobile betting in the budget are frustrating at times. That is a far cry from the optimism he expressed two weeks ago considering there was finally “common ground” on the issue.

He also wishes Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s office had more of a “congenial attitude” toward negotiating:

“You mean to tell me mobile sports betting doesn’t get in the budget when everyone agreed we need to do it? How can that happen? Because it takes more than one to negotiate. So if [the Senate] and the Assembly are lockstep then that means the governor didn’t negotiate well. That means it was like my way or the highway.”

Last chance for mobile NY sports betting?

This is the most optimism surrounding an attempt to legalize mobile New York sports betting has generated it in the state legislature. That does not mean much if the budget passes Thursday without at least a framework, though.

Just look at the precedent in past years to see what kind of chances S 1138 and A 1257 have as standalone bills, Addabbo said.

“I have very little hope that we would do gaming issues post-budget because what’s the incentive?” Addabbo said.

Senate pushed hard for mobile NY sports betting

If another year passes without mobile betting, at least Addabbo can look New Yorkers in the eye, he said.

“It’s not us,” Addabbo said. “I know it’s not in the Senate because every time they look to us – and I’m so proud of my team and my conference – we give language. We give proposed language to try to work out a hybrid between the governor’s proposal and our proposal.”

Cuomo shined some positive light on mobile betting this year when he mentioned it as a potential source of revenue in December. That hope faded somewhat when he proposed his model restricted to a sole operator via the state lottery. That contrasts to the 14 skins potentially approved in the legislation from Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie revived some hope when he signed off on mobile betting language in the Assembly’s one-house budget. It was the first sign of approval from Heastie on mobile betting after he wouldn’t allow a vote on Senate-backed legislation in 2019.

There was also the thought that lack of additional details from Cuomo’s office paired with his additional issues might give Addabbo and Pretlow more room to negotiate. That does not appear to be the case.

As always, New Jersey is the winner

There are plenty of reasons Addabbo is tired of New York going without mobile sports betting for another year.

He expressed concern about jobs at upstate casinos, which have not turned out to be as economically successful as previously hoped. He also knows there are gambling-addicted New Yorkers he cannot help without the proper framework.

And he is especially sick of dollars that could help New Yorkers flowing across the border to New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

“I’m tired – absolutely tired, have had it – with people going to Jersey and losing revenue and educational funds to Jersey, or Pennsylvania, or illegally,” Addabbo said.

New York could get even more competition later this year. Sports betting in Connecticut is finally close to reality after Gov. Ned Lamont negotiated an agreement with the state’s two gaming tribes. That agreement recently progressed out of the committee stage.

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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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