New York Mobile Sports Betting on Hold as Gaming Study Is Extended

  • Spectrum Gaming Group has been given an extension to complete its gambling study
  • New York State Gaming Commission cites COVID-19 as a reason for the extension
  • Legalized mobile and land-based sports betting continue to thrive in neighboring states
  • Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr estimates $60m in licensing fees and $30m in annual tax revenues  
Person betting on soccer on a smartphone
New York’s mobile sports betting legislative effort is paused as the state’s Gaming Commission has extended the deadline for a gaming study. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Waiting continues

New York mobile sports betting is on hold as a study by the Spectrum Gaming Group has been extended. The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) chose Spectrum to conduct a study of online sports betting in November 2019. Mobile betting legalization efforts cannot move forward in the state until this study is completed.

The debate over New York mobile sports betting dates back more than a year. Though the results of the study were originally due yesterday, the Spectrum Gaming Group will now have an unspecified amount of time to submit the study findings as a new deadline has not been announced.

COVID-19 problems

On Monday, the New York State Gaming Commission cited the impact of COVID-19 as a reason for granting Spectrum additional time. The regulator explained that the potential impact of the pandemic on the future of existing gaming, as well as how it will affect future development, needs to be considered.

it is unclear when the mobile sports betting effort can move forward

The extension was granted so Spectrum Gaming can fully measure the issue. With no timetable for submitting the report, it is unclear when the mobile sports betting effort can move forward.

New York falling behind

It has been two years since the United States Supreme Court overturned PASPA, opening the door for sports betting nationwide, but New York has lagged behind as other states regulate the pastime. Neighboring New Jersey has built a huge sports gambling industry, generating $4.5bn in handle last year alone. Bettors generated $300m in revenue for sportsbooks and close to $36m for the state.

Along with nearby New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have also legalized sports betting. Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts are discussing the option.

In 2019, four upstate casinos in New York were given the green light to offer on-site sports betting. Mobile betting, however, has continued to be a tough sell.

New York Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr has pushed for mobile sports betting. The chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee estimated that mobile betting could bring $60m in licensing fees to the state along with another $30m in yearly tax revenues.

Governor Cuomo’s stance on mobile sports betting

Another obstacle to New York mobile sports betting is Governor Andrew Cuomo, who contends that a constitutional amendment is needed before online wagering can be legalized. That process could take 36 months or longer to complete. Two consecutive legislative sessions must approve the amendment before voters have their say.

Senator Addabbo and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow recommended the governor add mobile sports betting to the state budget, but he did not include it in his final budget for 2021. The state faces a $6bn budget deficit that is expected to worsen because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.