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Report: NY Governor changes track on mobile wagering


New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has is expected to announce his support for legal mobile sports betting, marking a major shift in his approach to the product.

According to reports in the US press Cuomo is set to deliver his State of the State address next week, in which he will set out goals for the upcoming legislative session.

With the city in dire financial straits following the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, he is expected to announce plans to legalize mobile betting in order to generate new tax revenue.

Cuomo had long been an opponent of online betting, arguing that the New York State Constitution only permits betting in the state’s upstate casinos, and would require a constitutional amendment ratified by a public referendum to move online.

Supporters of mobile wagering, however, have argued this only means online betting servers must be located in these venues.

State senator Joseph P. Addabbo, a long-time supporter of legal online betting, said he was pleased to see the Governor voice his support for online bettin, adding the resulting tax revenue would help the state recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Addabbo previously put forward legislation to legalize mobile sports wagering in 2019 but saw the bill die in the State Assembly after Cuomo expressed his opposition. The Senator then tried again in 2020, only for that bill to fail to progress beyond committee stage.

“It is encouraging to hear that Governor Cuomo will embrace mobile sports betting in his State of the State Address,” Addabbo said.

“By legalizing mobile sports betting, New York will be able to reap the benefits of the economic gains it will create and help the state rebuild after the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to increasing educational funding, addressing illegal activity in the state and assisting those with gaming addictions. 

“I look forward to working with the Governor and his office to efficiently implement mobile sports betting for the people of New York.”

Land-based sports betting was legalized in New York via a 2013 law permitting new commercial casinos in upstate areas.

Though the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was still in place at the time, the bill included an amendment to give New York the right to regulate wagering should it be struck down. In July 2019, legal sports wagering launched at the state’s upstate casinos.

Addabbo has previously argued that the lack of a legal mobile product in New York has led to many potential New York bettors instead travelling to New Jersey to place bets. In November, New Jersey saw record betting handle of $931.6m, of which $872.1m was placed online.