New York Governor Ends Mobile Sports Betting Hopes

  • Andrew Cuomo will not allow mobile sports betting as part of the final 2021 budget
  • He also rejected calls to issue licenses for three downtown casinos to increase state revenues
  • New York's projected deficit of $6bn will likely worsen with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
  • Senator Addabbo Jr. said he will continue campaigning for the legalization of the activity
New York cityscape at sunset
Proposals for the legalization of mobile sports betting in New York were met with a solid “no” from Governor Cuomo. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

End of the road

The legalization of mobile sports betting will not be part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s final budget for 2021. Cuomo has long been opposed to the idea, having battled back and forth with state lawmakers since the federal ban on sports betting was dismissed in May 2018. 

suggestions were met with a solid “no”

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr spoke with Legal Sports Report about the disappointing outcome of attempts to introduce mobile betting. The Senate negotiating team brought up the idea of using mobile sports betting and issuing three casino licenses for downtown facilities to increase state revenues. However, these suggestions were met with a solid “no”.

Need for new revenue sources

As New York is currently dealing with a budget deficit of $6bn, Governor Cuomo has been looking for new sources of revenue generation. With the coronavirus pandemic effectively shutting down a massive proportion of the state’s economy, there will be even further monetary pressures in 2021 than initially projected.

$15bn worth of revenue could be lost

Tax revenues will be lower and the state has to spend a lot more to try to deal with the ongoing crisis. Governor Cuomo forecasts that $15bn worth of revenue could be lost.

Senator Addabbo Jr. could not believe that the proposed legalization was shut down so convincingly. He said, “What is so astonishing is that we had a need for revenue before the virus crisis, and we’re still being asked to make cuts to healthcare.”

Coronavirus not helping

In a normal year in the state of New York, both legislative chambers would issue their respective budget proposals some time in the middle of March. These would then be discussed with the office of the governor for a couple of weeks before a final version of the budget is approved on April 1.

This year, Senator Addabbo Jr and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow planned to include the expedition of the three downtown casino licenses and mobile sports betting among their proposals. They had the support of the legislature and voters, as well as the legal backing for pushing the measures. 

However, the chambers did not get to submit their proposals as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, negotiations have already begun with the governor’s office, with the budget expected to be completed by the end of the week. 

What the future holds

Governor Cuomo has always been staunchly against legalizing mobile sports betting, so efforts from Addabbo Jr and his supporters would likely have come up short regardless of the circumstances.

mobile sports betting in New York is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’”

The senator believes he has addressed all the concerns that Cuomo has publicized on the issue. He said, “All the governor and the speaker are doing is delaying the inevitable because mobile sports betting in New York is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ and we need the revenue now.” Addabbo Jr. added that he will analyze the final budget and develop a strategy for his efforts to continue pursuing the matter. 

While the current legislative session is not set to end until June 2, it may be closed following the budget finalization. To date, three Assembly members in New York have been confirmed as having contracted the COVID-19 virus.