Hope Returns for Legal Mobile Betting in New York

Mobile betting in New York has not been legalized and this is not for lack of trying. However, those that favor mobile betting in the New York Legislature are willing to give it another push with hopes of success this time.

During the Betting on Sports America 2020 digital conference, State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow suggested that new legislation that supports mobile wagering in the state could be available by the end of the year. Both Statesmen are leading proponents of expanded sports gambling in their respective chambers.

As far back as 2013, retail sports betting was approved in New York. It was part of a constitutional amendment that authorized the operation of four upstate commercial casinos, backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. In 2019, athletic gambling finally went live at sportsbooks at these casinos. Since then, the Governor has been reluctant to approve any form of gambling expansion, resulting in mobile betting staying off the menu.

The two leading proponents of expanded gambling in New York strongly believe that the position of the Governor might change soon. Both lawmakers stated that the state is facing a multi-billion dollar budget deficit and will be looking to explore new revenue sources. It was revealed by the Assemble man that the Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, plans on adding sports betting to the provision of a revenue bill. That bill will be tabled later this month.

Heastie also stated that even if the mobile betting initiatives fail to gain traction in this year’s revenue bill discussions, it will be introduced by both Assembly and Senate lawmakers in the 2021 budget proposals.

It Could Still be a Hard Sell for Andrew Cuomo

It seems like Assemblyman Pretlow’s colleagues in the Legislature know what is at stake and how new sources of revenue are important. As a result, he thinks it will be fairly easy to make their case to the Governor as the legalization of mobile betting could bring in tens of millions of dollars in additional tax money. Both leading proponents in the Legislature believe that the crisis brought on by Covid-19 has substantially thinned the state’s coffers and as a response, mobile wagering might be legalized.

The state governor’s stand on the matter at this time is still unknown. However, it is worth remembering that the Governor previously stated that sports betting did not have as much potential to be a significant source of new revenue for the state. Whether he has changed his views is yet to be ascertained.

The Democratic-controlled Legislature has the right to override the mobile betting veto from their fellow Democrat if it comes to that. However, Senator Addabbo has made it clear that the legislators do not want any clash with the Governor and are only interested in collaborating with him. An approval from Gov. Cuomo does not mean all is well, as there is a lot that needs to be ironed out between both chambers of the Legislature. However, it is a huge win and a step in the right direction.

A large portion of New York’s neighbors – New Jersey – betting handle has come from New Yorkers. Their betting handle has continued to break records for the past months now as online wagering is being favored. If mobile wagering is legalized in the state, New York will be in a great position to be among the top five betting markets in the US.


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