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New York mobile betting bill dies in Assembly


New York bettors will have to travel to upstate casinos to bet on sports after Senator Joseph Addabbo’s mobile wagering bill failed to progress through the Assembly. 

The legislative session, which was extended by a day to Thursday (June 20) in order to finalize a number of state appointments, saw S17 fail to progress beyond the Assembly Standing Committee on Codes.

After it became clear S17 would progress no further, Addabbo tweeted that he saw no clear reason why the state could not implement mobile sports betting in 2019. Failure to do so would see the state miss out on around $75m in revenue, funding for education, and both job creation and retention, he said.

“NY will be stuck like a disabled car on the shoulder, while we allow an illegal sports betting business in our state thrive and idly watch other neighboring states pass us up with enormous revenue gains from mobile sports betting,” he said.

Hopes of the bill joining similar proposals in states such as Illinois, Indiana and Maine in making it through the legislature after a last-minute push were raised earlier this week, when the bill was passed by the Senate. It cleared the Senate Rules Committee, before being approved by a 57-5 margin in a full vote.

However, its prospects in the Assembly were always seen as slim, with the Speaker of the chamber Carl Heastie of the opinion that a constitutional amendment was necessary to allow mobile betting. 

Heastie shares this stance with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was unwilling to add a mobile component to the state’s land-based wagering regulations, and to factor mobile wagering revenue into the state’s 2019-20 budget. The path to land-based sports betting was cleared by an amendment to a bill to expand the state’s commercial casino industry, which was ratified by a public vote. 

Addabbo and Assemblymember Gary Pretlow, who filed the Assembly companion bill to S17, both believe that the issue could easily addressed by placing sports betting servers within casinos.

“The language in the constitution requires all bets to be placed at the state’s licensed casinos,” Addabbo told iGaming Business in March this year.

“Once we put the servers, the actual technology, on the site of our existing licensed casinos, the server is actually where the bet takes place, satisfying our constitutional language. If we are in any other part of the state, the bet is placed where it is received.”

S17 and its Assembly counterpart A6113 would have set a $12m license fee, with land-based betting taxed at 8.5% of revenue. This would rise to 12% for mobile wagering. 

Use of official league data for betting purposes would be mandatory, and a royalty fee equal to 0.2% of handle would be paid by licensees. 

As well as legalizing mobile and casino wagering, the bill would have allowed wagering at off-track betting facilities, racetracks and in certain stadiums in the state.

However, bettors will now only be able to place wagers at four casinos in upstate New York, per the regulations passed by the state Gaming Commission earlier this month. Schenectady-based Rivers Casino, Tioga Downs racino in Nichols, del Lago Resort in the Finger Lakes and Monticello-based Resorts World Catskills will all be eligible to offer sports betting, paying a 10% tax on gross revenue. 

Each venue has already secured a sports wagering partner. Rivers Casino’s parent company Rush Street Interactive has partnered Kambi for sports betting services, while Resorts World Catskills will launch a bet365-powered sportsbook. Del Lago Resort will work with DraftKings, and Tioga Downs with Flutter Entertainment’s FanDuel.