New York Senator Joseph Addabbo

  • Senator Joseph Addabbo is behind Senate Bill 17 which would make mobile sports betting legal in New York.
  • The Coronavirus has caused the state to be $17 billion in debt for which a sports betting revenue stream could help.
  • New York sports bettors give most of their business to neighboring states with mobile sports betting platforms like Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

NEW YORKNew York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. sat down with LegalSportsBetting to discuss the sports betting market in New York and more importantly, the potential legalization of mobile sports betting in the state.

Senate Bill 17 also known as NY S17D would make internet and mobile sports betting platforms legal in the Empire State.

The New York State Legislature is currently holding their hearings for this session via Zoom style outlets due to the Coronavirus pandemic with the possibility of holding meetings in Albany in the Fall per Addabbo.

Addabbo Brings Facts And Figures

Senator Addabbo is no stranger to the legal sports betting industry. He has been an advocate in New York on the topic with S17D and the possibilities it could bring to the state in terms of revenue after it’s been ravaged by the outbreak of COVID-19.

While Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t publicly stated in the past about being in favor of legal mobile sports betting platforms, the situation is unique.

“If you weren’t considering mobile sports betting legalization prior to the virus, I think the virus may put you in the position that you almost have to. The economic impact of the Coronavirus is not only for this year, it’s next year too. The idea here is we had a $7 billion deficit before the virus and then the virus hit us with another $10 billion,” said Addabbo. “Now we’re $17 billion in the red and we’re facing education cuts. A portion of our gaming revenue would go toward education, so we would be increasing education funds with mobile sports betting legalization. We’re also facing healthcare cuts, so how do you fend off some of these cuts? Look at the credible, significant, realistic money mobile sports betting would provide.”

Sports betting enthusiasts in the state would rather cross the bridge into New Jersey and use the Garden State’s mobile sportsbooks than take a drive upstate to participate in gambling on sporting events through retail sports betting locations.

That’s a huge financial loss to New York that the economy could use now more than ever.

Addabbo believes that if lawmakers were provided with facts and figures rather than a specific amendment to pass Senate Bill 17, they’d be able to see in black and white just how much the state is losing to their neighbor.

“I don’t think we need an amendment to the bill. I just think we need to talk about facts and figures. If we want to talk about how our neighboring state New Jersey takes $837 million of our money from New York because it’s easier to jump the border from New York to New Jersey and use your mobile phone than to take a drive upstate. We have illegal activity here that runs about a billion dollars, we could recoup that money.”

Many people that are opposed to the idea of mobile sports betting because of its accessibility and a connection to gaming addiction are misinformed.

People will find a way to gamble if they enjoy doing it. As with anything, people look for alternative routes in order to do what they like doing.

If mobile sports betting was made legal in New York, it could only help New Yorkers with addiction problems because it will be a regulated business that would offer help to residents with sports betting addiction issues.

“If you want to help a New Yorker with a gaming addiction, you can’t right now because they’re going to Jersey or they’re doing it illegally so how do you help a person that has a gaming addiction? You give them a safe, regulated way to do so. We are trying to work with the Governor’s office on this and we appreciate his methodical approach to certain things in New York. He said no to medical marijuana and now we have it, he said no to paid family leave and now we have it, so I’m hoping. I’m hoping he basically has an idea about rationally considering mobile sports betting this year.”

The 3 Unused New York Sports Betting Licenses

At the moment, there are three full gaming licenses available in New York. These are all-inclusive gaming licenses that will become active in 2023.

“If we could get them to become active now, that’s another $1.5 to roughly $3 billion that we can receive just from the licenses themselves. Anybody in the state can apply for those licenses and we do have two already existing racinos, so these are not old casinos, these are the electronic type gaming sites, they can apply and then we have others in the gaming industry who would love to have a full gaming license in New York near Manhattan.”

If the Governor wanted to, he could put these licenses to use this year.

Casino games and sportsbooks are what make these available licenses all-inclusive. Locations for these sportsbooks would be in New York City or at least within the region.

“So, this is big money. But the Governor would have to figure out a way to openly and transparently have these three licenses bid for and like I said this is something the Legislature could work on this year.”

 

“These licenses are separate and apart from the mobile sports betting bill. In my district, I have Resorts World Casino, it’s a racino, no live dealers, it basically no live dealers and it’s all electronics. They would love to have a full license so that they could do live table games and they’re ready. Resorts World is already undergoing a major expansion; hotel, new gaming floor site, the square footage, they’re ready, they want this license, they’re ready.”

 

“We also have MGM in Yonkers, they have a site that’s a racino and again, they would love it and they have roughly about 100 acres, anywhere from 80 to 100 acres of vacant land that they say once we get this license and MGM can do it, once they get the license, they’re going to expand. They’re going to do the hotel, they’re going to do everything. So you have two already operating operators in downstate New York that if given these licenses would see a boom and huge expansion for job growth, economics, and educational funding.”

 

“These three licenses and that third license, we’d have to figure out where it goes, somewhere within the city or downstate region but when we talk about these three licenses its significant revenue, it’s significant job growth and job potential, and of course, educational funding. These licenses are currently in discussion this year but how earnest the discussion is, how serious, it remains to be seen. The lower hanging fruit, the more obtainable topic would be mobile sports betting that we can certainly do this year.”

Will Mobile Sports Betting Become Legal This Year In New York?

With the time that the state is being given with the lull in sports as well as the general shut down of most everything, mobile sports betting is a topic that can be discussed and actually pass.

Everything can be done with the “plan, pass, and prepare” method that Addabbo has come up with. They can strategically plan out all of the factors that go into mobile sports betting and then pass the bill.

Once it’s passed, the market can then prepare while the sports world gets back on their feet. Addabbo has been trying to work with the Governor’s office in an effort to get mobile sports betting as a legal pastime in the Empire State in 2020.

“We have a Zoom session next week, we can do this via Zoom or we can do this where we resume, hopefully maybe in the Fall in person in Albany but the idea here is that the need for revenue is a real dire need and we can do this. If passed, mobile sports betting could launch in 2020. I’m an optimistic person and when the Governor wants to do something, we do it. I think if the Governor gets behind this and says we really need the revenue.”

Getting this done in 2020 makes for a better overall outcome in New York rather than waiting to talk about the topic in the future.

If the state waits on the issue, problems may arise. Currently, without legal mobile sports betting, New York cannot regulate the online sports bettors in their state.

“So, in the meantime, the illegal activity starts, the addiction grows, Jersey takes our money, Pennsylvania takes our money, soon to be Connecticut, I mean come on. Right now our estimates are anywhere from $160 to $200 million and that’s for this year between the licensing, fees, and the taxes. But then they say the bottom line is, it’s New York. Our population, at 19 million is twice that of New Jersey, our tourism is twice that of New Jersey, we have leagues that have their headquarters in New York, not New Jersey, in New York.”

 

“The fanbase alone with the league and professional teams we have in New York shows that fans go to New Jersey to use mobile sports betting when they can actually stay here and do it and the idea for mobile betting is the potential for revenue in New York. To me, the estimate that I give might be on the conservative low end, might be. I just think there’s great potential here, I do. I think it’s a great time to consider this, to plan this and do it right. Mobile sports betting is a short term and long term policy, we do short term to figure out some revenue but if you do it right it’s a long term game it really is.”

The Endgame

After speaking with Addabbo, New York may very well have a great shot at legalizing mobile sports betting in 2020.

The financial gains alone could help a state that is in dire need of funds due to the Coronavirus pandemic. If for nothing else, the education system wouldn’t need to sustain cuts as they would receive funding with revenue made by the mobile sports betting market.

If those three licenses were to become active now instead of in 2023, the sky’s the limit for the monetary potential to help the economy in the Empire State.

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