Members of the New York state Senate debate budget bills during session in Senate Chamber at the state Capitol Sunday, March, 31, 2019, in Albany, N.Y.
(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

The current shutdown due to COVID-19 presents New York State with an opportunity to pass online sports betting and ensure a smooth rollout.

Danny Small

It’s becoming clearer that sports betting is going to become legalized throughout the country sooner or later. In fact, sports betting is legal in New York, but mobile sports betting is not.

The current shutdown in the sports world is the perfect opportunity for New York to move forward with online sports betting. State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. is pushing a “Plan, Pass, and Prepare” strategy that aims to have Governor Andrew Cuomo sign the bill into law by Dec. 31, 2020.

“Every day, I am mindful of the negative impact the Coronavirus has inflicted upon our state. This is an unprecedented time we are facing right now, but it also presents us with an unprecedented opportunity,” Addabbo said. “In terms of sporting events, which are shutdown because of the global health crisis, we can utilize this time to institute a ‘Plan, Pass, and Prepare’ mobile sports betting legislative strategy.”

Once the bill is signed, New York State will have time to “prepare” for the return of live sports and the official launch of NY online sports betting. Although pushes for mobile sports betting in New York have stalled in the past, there will never be a better opportunity for the state to pass a bill and ensure a smooth rollout.

“If we take advantage of this break in sports, we can hash out all of the details to come up with a comprehensive, long-term mobile sports betting bill this session and credibly be ready to go when the sports come back,” Addabbo said. “When games do return, there will most likely be limited fans in the stadiums and arenas in a continuance of protecting public health until the crisis is more under control. Mobile sports betting can be a means for fans to interact and participate in their favorite sports, while safely practicing a social distance. I believe now is the sensible time to ‘Plan, Pass, and Prepare’ mobile sports betting for New York.”

In the current climate, online sports betting is a safer alternative to walking into a sportsbook and physically placing a bet. As Sen. Addabbo points out, most sporting events are going to be held with limited fans in attendance. Online sports betting represents another way for fans to connect to the sports they love.

With mobile sports betting legalized in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, New York State is losing out on potential revenue as bettors travel across state lines to place their wagers. Not to mention, those who aren’t close enough to state lines to hop the border might turn to illegal offshore books.

Online sports betting feels inevitable. Although COVID-19 has caused untold damage to New Yorkers, it presents the state with an opportunity. Mobile sports betting would bring in more money during a period in time where the state is trying to bounce back from a global pandemic.

Sen. Addabbo’s “Plan, Pass, and Prepare” strategy represents the state’s best chance at online sports betting right now.

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