The state of New York’s budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, starting 1 April, will extend sports betting outside of casino sportsbook lounges, but not beyond the confines of upstate casinos.
New York’s current sports betting legislation only allows for bets placed in person at any of the state’s four upstate commercial or seven tribal casinos.
Although Senator Joseph Addabbo has made repeated efforts to legalize online and mobile sports betting and called for their inclusion in the 2020-21 budget, Governor Andrew Cuomo opted not to include these components.
Instead, the bill will allow for casinos to take bets throughout their premises, but not from any other locations.
Current law requires that wagering on sports be exclusively operated in a casino’s designated sports betting lounge. The Budget ends this restriction by allowing for sports wagering outside the lounge, but still within the casino, per Gaming Commission regulations.
While this may allow for casinos to launch mobile and online sportsbooks in order to take bets from players in other parts of their casinos, Addabbo said statewide mobile sports betting was needed to address the state’s budget deficit.
“The Executive Budget’s and state’s need for revenue emphasizes the importance of implementing mobile sports betting in New York and not to miss an opportunity to raise much needed revenue to assist in addressing the expanding $6 billion budget deficit, to increase educational funding, to protect vital programs, to curtail the current illegal sports betting in our state, and to significantly enhance the prospect of creating jobs,” Addabbo said.
Cumo has long opposed mobile sports betting in New York, arguing that it violates the state constitution and threatening to veto any mobile sports betting bill. However, Addabbbo, who is confident his bill satisfies the requirements in the state constitution, added that he believes Cuomo may yet change his mind.
“I am hopeful that mobile sports betting is on a similar road as some other issues, such as paid family leave and medical marijuana, which were initially rejected by the Governor.” Addabbo said.
“Fortunately, these initiatives are now in place to benefit the people of our state – as would mobile sports betting. I look forward to working with the Governor’s administration, the state legislative leadership, and my colleagues on this matter during budget negotiations.”
The state budget outline also includes some other gaming changes. It would remove the 2,500 sq ft minimum size requirement for venues offering the QuickDraw lottery and would keep the state’s existing parimutuel betting tax rates in place for a further year.
In January, Addabbo submitted a mobile sports betting bill for the 2020 legislative session. The bill passed the Senate Racing, Gaming And Wagering Committee, which Addabbo chairs, unanimously last week (14 January).
In December, the New York State Gaming Commission reported that Sports wagering revenue in the state amounted to $780,418 in December, the lowest monthly figure since the state launched its legal market last July.
]Meanwhile, in nearby New Jersey, which does offer mobile sports betting, operators generated $29.4m in total revenue in December.