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New York mobile betting bill passes first committee stage


A bill to allow online and mobile sports betting in New York has passed the first committee stage in the state senate by a unanimous vote.

The bill, S17, passed a vote in the Senate Racing, Gaming And Wagering Committee by a 7-0 margin and will now move on to the Senate Committee on Finance.

S17 would allow holders of sports betting licenses in New York to also conduct a mobile sports betting operation and would also allow sports betting in stadia. It initially passed a vote in the Senate in June 2019 but after it did not see a vote in the state assembly, it was revived for the 2020 legislative session. Its passage through the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee in 2019 was also unanimous.

The bill’s failure to pass in the previous legislative session has not dissuaded its sponsor – Racing, Gaming And Wagering Committee chair Joseph Addabbo – from continuing to push for legal mobile betting in the Empire State.

Addabbo has pointed to the revenue taken in by New Jersey compared to New York’s, to show the value the bill could provide to the state. In November 2019, New Jersey casinos, which may offer mobile betting, took in $32.9m on a $562.7m handle. In the same month, New York sportsbooks took in $1.3m, and this figure declined further to $780,418 in December.

Although Governor Andrew Cuomo and speaker Carl Heastie expressed reservations about the constitutionality of the bill, Addabbo said all of these concerns had been addressed in the bill through stipulations about the location of online betting servers.

Last week, Addabbo argued for the bill in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State message, claiming the extra funds would help deal with New York’s growing budget deficit.

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.