New York state senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, continued his push for legal online betting in the state in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State message.
Addabbo said that, given New York’s significant budget deficit, an expansion of betting would provide the state with much-needed revenue.
“As we go into a very difficult fiscal year, facing a state budget deficit of more than $6 billion, and working on many initiatives mentioned in the governor’s State of the State, I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and my legislative colleagues to identify new sources of revenue to help close the budget gap, revitalize our economy, support local families and businesses, increase educational funding and continue to provide vital services to New Yorkers in need,” Addabbo said.
“First and foremost, to address these issues, I will continue to advocate for the implementation of mobile sports betting in New York State, which will curb the flow of dollars to nearby states, that could be used – now and in the future – to balance the state budget and provide needed funding support for education and create jobs.
Addabbo added that, while the launch of legal betting in the state in July was a significant step forward, it was not enough to compete with neighbouring states such as New Jersey, where players bet a total of $562.7m in November 2019.
“We took a step forward last year in permitting sports betting in several upstate casinos, but adding the mobile wagering component is crucial to reaping the benefits of this gaming activity and enabling us to compete with other states,” Addabbo said.
In addition to online betting, Addabbo also pushed for the state to take advantage of the three currently-unused casino licences available for facilities in the southern region of the state, near New York City.
“I also intend to explore options that may be pursued with regard to the three unused casino licenses that are still available to launch gaming facilities in the downstate region,” Addabbo said. “These licenses represent an untapped source of revenue for New York State, which could also be directed to important state programs and funding for our schools.
“I will be holding a public hearing of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee on January 22nd to begin gathering public and industry input on how we can best place these casino licenses on the front burner.”
Addabbo has long fought for the expansion of gambling in the state of New York. In January 2019, Addabbo put forward legislation to legalize mobile sports wagering. The bill was passed by the state senate but failed to progress beyond the Assembly Standing Committee on Codes as both Cuomo and speaker of the chamber Carl Heastie both expressed concerns about its constitutionality.
Addabbo, though, said in July that he still believes his state can pass a bill that allows it to collect the revenue from mobile sports betting without creating constitutional issues.