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New York Lawmaker Wants to Expand Sports Betting Menu

New York Lawmaker Wants to Expand Sports Betting Menu article feature image
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Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images: Pictured: New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

The biggest sports betting state in the country could get even bigger under a bill that would expand its menu of things to bet on.

New Yorkers have wagered a record $4.8 billion since mobile sports betting went live in January, and they’ve done so without being able to bet on nontraditional sports, like darts and Australian football, or awards like a league’s MVP.

Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. is pushing for more sports to bet on to help New York continue dominating. He told Action Network that he’s exploring adding a provision for more markets to an already-filed bill that would allow mobile betting on horse racing and betting kiosks at sports stadiums.

“I think we’ve already done a great job with taking revenue away from New Jersey, but the idea here is how can you continue to evolve and do something simple to get better,” Addabbo said.

Lawmakers punted on major changes to their infant market earlier this month, when a proposal to add more sportsbooks and lower tax rates fizzled out of budget talks.

Addabbo said his colleagues were hesitant to make major changes so soon, especially with tax revenue pouring in, but he’s optimistic his “more simple” tweak can pass before the legislature adjourns on June 2.

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More Tweaks to Come

When New York passed legal online sports betting in 2021 it was all about getting a market up and running and less about perfecting the model.

For years former Gov. Andrew Cuomo stood as a roadblock to legalization, holding that any gaming changes needed a conditional amendment–much harder to pass than a normal bill. As COVID-19 ate into state revenue,  he changed his tune, but refused to budge with the legislature on several elements that limit New York’s market:

  • Sports betting apps capped at nine
  • A nation-high 51% tax on operators
  • Only major sports
  • No tax exemption for promos or free play

Cuomo has since resigned, replaced by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

Addabbo and fellow gaming proponent, Rep. J Gary Pretlow, told Action Network they feel much more confident about going back and making changes with her in charge. She’s already shown an appetite for gaming expansion, including a provision for three new downstate casinos in her first budget.

They hope to eventually repeal many of Cuomo’s limits and expand the market with iGaming and award show betting, but for now they’re focussed on currying support for the Senate bill.

“The first iteration [of sports betting] will not be the last,” Pretlow said. “It’s going to evolve.”

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