A disappointment for New Yorkers
Fans of sports betting in New York are unlikely to be able to place online sports bets in 2020, judging by comments from Governor Andrew Cuomo in his budget proposal address.
an existing 2018 ban on mobile sports wagering largely unaltered
Cuomo released his proposal for the annual budget for the fiscal year 2021 on Tuesday. It includes a small-scale expansion of the legal retail sports betting market currently operating in the state, but leaves an existing 2018 ban on mobile sports wagering largely unaltered.
Cuomo’s plan for retail sportsbooks
Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget would allow retail sports betting to take place outside the sportsbook lounges of the state’s commercial and tribal casinos. This would see the gambling facilities potentially able to open up external betting windows or self-service betting kiosks in different areas of their property.
The four upstate commercial casinos in New York have legal retail sportsbooks open. Some of the tribal gambling facilities in the state also run retail sportsbooks. Currently, these operators are not allowed to offer mobile or online wagering. New Yorkers looking to place a sports bet have to travel upstate or cross over the border into New Jersey.
The road to legal online sports betting
Governor Cuomo has remained insistent that a constitutional amendment would be needed to legalize online sports betting in the Empire State. This would see the issue go to a public vote for final approval.
legalization could generate $1bn in revenue annually for the state
One of the main proponents for legal online sports betting in New York is Senator Addabbo Jr. He believes no such constitutional amendment is required, and that legalization could generate $1bn in revenue annually for the state.
Addabbo had been hoping Cuomo would change his stance on the issue. However, the budget address on Tuesday shows this is not yet the case.
Despite having to deal with a budget deficit of $6bn, Cuomo believes that allowing online sports betting could be irresponsible. He said, “This is not the time to come up with creative although irresponsible revenue sources to solve a problem which doesn’t really exist.”
Is there any hope?
The budget proposal address certainly dampens the chances of legal online sports betting for New Yorkers in 2020.
However, the respective legislative chambers could still negotiate a compromise before April 1. This is the date by which the houses are to submit their own budget proposals and agree on a final version. It is also possible for online wagering legislation to be introduced and gain approval before the end of the legislative session on June 2.
Addabbo reacted, saying, “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.”