NEW YORK GUV KILLS MOBILE SPORTS BETTING PUSH
BY Ad Miral
While New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has his hands full with the coronavirus, he has been actively working on the state budget. That’s bad news for mobile sports betting, which did not make the latest cuts, as per Legal Sports Report, as the governor and state lawmakers appear to still be on opposite sides of the issue.
Back in January, Cuomo revealed his annual budget proposal for the fiscal year 2021. This included a modest expansion of the legal sports betting market in the state, but had no provision for mobile sports wagers. The governor has continually pointed out that the only way online wagering would be allowed is if it was enacted through an amendment to the state’s constitution. Many in the legislature, including State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., disagree.
Despite the tepid response from the governor regarding the legalization, there were many who believed that there was still time to include the legalization within the budget by April 1, the day the budget must be concluded. Now those hopes are dead, at least for a year.
Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow were hoping on introducing mobile sports betting within the budget. According to the two, they had sought the opinions of top legal firms in the state who had assured them that the constitutionality of the initiative was sound. This had led them to believe that they could convince the governor of the need to include the provision.
In addition, state lawmakers had hoped that they would be able to convince the governor that legalizing online gambling would be a way to address the $6 billion deficit the state faces. With the Covid-19 virus pandemic sweeping across New York, it is expected that this deficit will rise drastically. Legalizing these types of wagers seemed like a ready-made solution for the budget problem. Not to the governor.
“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 health care,” explained Addabbo. “Unbelievable. Totally irresponsible.”
Despite the setback, lawmakers are not ready to throw in the towel. Addabbo stated that he believes “we need to examine all credible revenue options regardless of any apprehensions. We should be exploring both mobile and the three licenses given that the need for current and future revenue is evident.”
To try to appease the governor, it is expected that some lawmakers will begin the three-year process to create a constitutional amendment that would assure the legality of mobile sports betting.