Just a few days after New York Gaming Commission approved rules for non-mobile sports betting, the New York State Senate passed a sports betting bill on Monday that, if approved in the Assembly and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would provide for mobile sports betting in the state.
While the passage in the Senate, by a 57-5 vote, is a positive sign, the Assembly does not automatically have to bring it to a vote and Cuomo has previously said that mobile betting could be unconstitutional. Furthermore, if an extension is not applied, the state legislative session closes for the year on Wednesday.
Sen. Joseph Addabbo, sponsor of the bill S17D and chair of the Senate Gaming and Wagering Committee, believes there is general support in the Assembly to pass the bill if leadership allows it to happen. He said that he conferenced with Democratic senators on the NY sports betting bill at the end of last week to produce a few minor cosmetic changes to the language.
The mobile betting bill also includes provisions that would allow any “professional sports stadium or arena” to eventually take wagers via kiosks, so long as it has at least 15,000 seats, according to gaming law attorney Daniel Wallach, as reported by The Action Network. Regardless of where this bill ends up, New York will have sports betting at four retail locations in upstate New York in the next few months, and potentially at the region’s seven full-service Indian nation-owned casinos, as state’s regulators approved rules last week.
“Experiences in other states have demonstrated that implementing sports betting without a mobile component leaves those states where people cannot wager with their phones or other devices at a competitive disadvantage,” said Addabbo in a statement. “Ultimately, I hope the Governor will choose to embrace the great benefits that sports betting, including the mobile component, will bring to New York in terms of employment, additional funding for education, addressing illegal gambling, and ensuring our competitiveness with other states.”
“There’s roadblock in the [state] Assembly,” said Assembly sponsor Gary Pretlow, according to the New York Post. “It can’t move, the leadership is stuck on the constitutional question.” He said that Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has sided with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has long argued an amendment to the state Constitution is needed — a three-year-long process. “I’ve been trying to convince them that is totally untrue,” he added.
Pretlow said he spoke to Heastie last Friday about bringing the measure to the floor, noting he “has the votes” on both sides of the aisle. “My position is: They’re losing tens of millions of dollars if we don’t do this,” Pretlow added.
But the bill needs to clear two key committees before the entire Assembly could vote on it – which is unlikely with lawmakers expected to finish up on Wednesday. “We’re giving them a framework that includes everybody, we’re not recreating the wheel,” said Addabbo. “I’m the eternal optimist, I still have two days.”