Mobile Betting Bill Advances in New York
The New York Senate’s Gaming Committee has cleared legislation that restricts web-based wagering to the state’s upstate commercial and tribal casinos. It’s less than supporters want, but they see it as a foot in the door. They’re hoping the Assembly and Governor Andrew Cuomo (l.) agree.
A bill to bring mobile sports betting to New York has advanced in the state Senate.
The Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee cleared the measure on a unanimous vote, sending it to Finance Committee, while its sponsor, Gaming Committee Chairman Joseph Addabbo, continues to push for an understanding with Governor Andrew Cuomo that will make mobile betting a reality in the Empire State, at least in some limited form to start with.
The governor has not entirely ruled that out. Nor has he moved off his position that sports betting on the internet is an expansion of gambling that can only be legalized via an amendment to the state Constitution.
“It’s something we have concerns with,’’ said Robert Williams, who heads the state Gaming Commission. “I don’t think we’ve reached finality with any of that.’’
Addabbo and other internet advocates contend that it’s critical for betting to be accessible by phone and other remote platforms to be economically viable. They argue that as much as 25 percent of wagers in neighboring New Jersey, which allows mobile betting, is bleeding out of New York from in and around the New York City metro area.
In hopes of persuading Cuomo to see the light, the bill the Gaming Committee advanced is one Addabbo has pared down from its original wording so that it restricts remote betting to the state’s four upstate commercial casinos, where land-based betting is already legal, and the casinos owned by the state’s Seneca, Oneida and Mohawk Indian tribes.
But as a compromise the amendments have sparked objections from racetracks, racinos and OTBs, which reportedly aren’t happy about suddenly finding themselves excluded.
Addabbo says he’s well aware of their concerns.
“The way I see it, this is a puzzle that the pieces are still missing. We need to move forward today in order to keep this momentum going, but the bottom line is this may not be the last version of the bill. It all depends on what direction the governor wants to take.
“I’m hopeful that in the end, we have all the pieces in place and it forms a perfect, inclusionary picture where we have now maximized our potential revenue-wise, educational-funding-wise, job-security- and job-creation-wise, and included everyone.