New York Racing Association

  • The New York Racing Association has spoken out in favor of legal sports betting in New York.
  • The boost to the economy, especially because of the current state of NY budget deficit, is the biggest push for it to be passed.
  • Governor Cuomo believes it will take a constitutional amendment and the deadline for the first passage in 2020 is Aug 3.

NEW YORK – The topic of legal online sports betting in New York has arisen again due to the desperate need for revenue from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some lawmakers and officials in the racing industry are pushing for legal mobile sports betting in N.Y., though, there is still substantial push back from the state government.

There are lawmakers that believe the large revenue predictions are questionable and Governor Andrew Cuomo thinks that online wagering is a more difficult process that could take years.

Those in the racing industry are speaking out in support of legal online sports betting because of the many benefits it would give operators and New York residents.

“A common-sense approach to legalized sports betting in New York should aim for a level playing field and provide in-state operators like NYRA with a fair opportunity to retain our loyal customers and compete for new ones,’’ said Patrick McKenna, a New York Racing Association spokesman. “Opening sports wagering to organizations like NYRA would benefit the state economy as a whole—particularly upstate and rural regions —by supporting further job creation and diversifying NYRA’s revenue sources to capture an emerging market.”

In recent years, many have seen that Thoroughbred racing could play a role in online sports wagering in New York and bring more to the betting industry as a whole throughout the state.

Even though there is land-based legal sports betting in the state, commercial casinos have been closed since March and the sports gambling places that are open are not generating much revenue because of low bettor turn out during this time.

The current state budget deficit is $14 billion after the financial hit of COVID-19. Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a Queens Democrat, and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, a Westchester Democrat both believe that could sway the opposition of mobile sports betting.

Governor Cuomo told lawmakers that a change in state law is not enough to approve online sports betting and voters would be asked in a constitutional amendment referendum.

Lawmakers would have to pass a bill this year and that could set it up for the issue to go before voters as soon as November 2021.

For that to happen, the first passage by the Legislature in 2020 has to be before the deadline on Aug. 3 and no house plans to return to discuss issues before that date at this moment.

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