• In 2013 the New York Legislature authorized sports betting at four commercial casinos and the state’s tribal casinos but did not include provisions for mobile betting.
  • Under the NY sports betting bill’s new amendments, mobile wagering would be strictly limited to be inside the facilities that operate sportsbooks.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office has repeatedly claimed that a voter referendum would be required to launch mobile sports betting in NY.

ALBANY, N.Y. – In an ongoing fight to make mobile sports betting in New York a reality, two key lawmakers have adjusted their bills in order to gain approval from NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.

NY Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Senator Joseph Addabbo have now amended their matching draft legislation to limit any potential mobile sports betting to the physical location of the four commercial casinos and tribal casinos that were previously authorized to offer sportsbooks.

More specifically, the bills included measures stating that the mobile sports betting servers that run the platform will also have to be located inside the approved casinos.

The new amendments would also exclude off-track betting facilities, the Aqueduct Casino, and pro sports stadiums from being able to offer legal sports betting kiosks or registration for a mobile app.

“We wanted to get over the first hurdle, that first hurdle being mobile. Once we get over that, the rest can be easier,” said Pretlow.

Although, before New York can get to mobile, Pretlow will have to convince the 150-member state Assembly to pass NY A 6113 and get the approval of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I have to get it through my house,” Pretlow said when speaking on behalf of his bill. “I have 80 members who say they support it.”

But the new provisions may not be enough to convince the governor’s office.

“Sports betting, first of all, does not make you that much money,” said Governor Cuomo in an interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock. “New Jersey has sports betting, it’s on TV all the time. You can’t turn on the darn TV without seeing it. They raised something like $13 million – $13 million is a rounding error in our state. So I don’t even think the economic benefit is there.”

To counter the governor’s doubts, Pretlow also included new language in regards to the financial impact of his bill.

Under the new amendments, gaming facilities would have to pay an initial $12 million license fee within 30 days of approval to the Commercial Gaming Revenue Fund. There would also be a 12% tax set on any mobile sports betting revenue and an 8.5% tax on land-based sports betting revenue.

But, the main argument from the Governor’s office isn’t necessarily about the potential economic benefits of mobile wagering, but rather the legality of the legislature passing a measure to approve it.

The New York Constitution states that in order to expand gaming operations in the state there has to be a voter referendum. Passing such measures without the approval of voters could lead to the state being sued such as nearby state Rhode Island.

To add to their point, earlier this year a poll conducted by Siena College found that exactly 44 percent of NY voters either supported or opposed mobile sports wagering, with the remaining 12% undecided.

Even so, these arguments are not enough to stop Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow for arguing the benefits the potential gaming expansion will bring.

“I continue to believe online wagering will create new jobs for state residents and provide a significant source of state revenue to fund education and other vital programs,” said Addabbo.

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