NY online sports betting was mentioned during the State of the State, but there is still a gap between Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered the State of the State on Monday morning, but those seeking more information on NY online sports betting were left hanging. We know that Gov. Cuomo is open to mobile sports betting in NY and he plans to use a single-source platform.
Gov. Cuomo’s plan is to take proposals from sports betting operators who already have a partnership with brick-and-mortar casinos in the state. DraftKings and FanDuel appear to be the early frontrunners to take over as the sole operator in New York if Gov. Cuomo follows through with this plan.
“At a time when New York faces a historic budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current online sports wagering structure incentivizes a large segment of New York residents to travel out of state to make online sports wagers or continue to patronize black markets,” Gov. Cuomo said in a press release. “New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States, and by legalizing online sports betting we aim to keep millions of dollars in revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.”
This is just the first of four State of the States that Gov. Cuomo will be giving throughout the week. We could learn more about the specifics of his plan in the coming days.
But for now, this is a plan that is going to anger stakeholders in the online sports betting realm. For one, the sportsbooks that don’t win the bid to become the sole operator in NY will have an ax to grind. Horse tracks, the NYRA, and the horse racing industry at large is being left out of the conversation entirely. And perhaps most of all, New York bettors won’t have the freedom of choice when it comes to legalized online sports betting.
In short, Gov. Cuomo’s plan leaves out plenty of people with a vested interest. Gaming law attorney Daniel Wallach, who is consistently on top of the online sports betting news in NY, believes that Gov. Cuomo is leaving the door open for litigation.
A sports betting bill that disenfranchises the entire horse racing industry in New York – after they were included in the Addabbo and Pretlow bills – could have unintended consequences in the form of a litigation risk that goes beyond mobile.
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) January 10, 2021
Mobile sports betting advocates can all agree that Gov. Cuomo’s recent flip flop is a step in the right direction. Prior to 2021, Gov. Cuomo gave little indication that he would ever support online sports betting in NY. However, there is another way forward that will include all stakeholders, generate much-needed tax revenue, and create jobs throughout the sports betting industry.
NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow introduced identical legislation in their respective chambers last week that would allow for up to 14 mobile sports betting licenses in the state. The plan is projected to generate $79 million in tax revenue annually plus it would bring in $84 million in licensing fees.
The legislation introduced by Sen. Addabbo and Assem. Pretlow would go a long way towards ensuring that all stakeholders would be involved in mobile sports betting.
The sportsbooks would all have a fair opportunity to gain access to the NY online sports betting market. This would include the horse racing industry in the coming boom. And of course, this plan would provide NY sports bettors a wealth of options to choose from when mobile sports betting goes live.
Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers are far apart in how they feel mobile sports betting should be run in the state, but the good news is that everybody is on the same page on one key issue — online sports betting needs to happen in NY. The potential in the Empire State for mobile sports betting is massive.
Hopefully, we will learn more about the specifics of Gov. Cuomo’s plan and his willingness to meet lawmakers halfway in his upcoming speeches.