New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Indicates He’s Open To Legalized Online Sports Betting
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images. Pictured: Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
There is light at the end of the tunnel for legalized mobile sports betting in New York.
Staring down a gigantic deficit because of the pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo indicated at a press conference on Wednesday that he would be open to fully legalizing online sports betting in the country’s fourth-most populous state.
The battle for legalizing mobile gaming has raged on for years in New York, but Cuomo had been surprisingly mum on the issue until he mentioned it as a possible new revenue source for the state during his presser on Wednesday.
But as neighboring New Jersey has emerged as the leader in sports betting — beating Nevada every month this year — and having a $931 million handle in November alone — the cries for Cuomo to do more have gotten louder.
If legislation is passed, New York would become the biggest state with mobile gaming by a significant margin. Right now that honor belongs to Pennsylvania and its ~12 million population. The Empire State is home to close to 20 million people.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, the leading mobile sports betting advocates in their respective chambers, reignited hopes on Tuesday that online wagering legislation could pass out of the legislature, possibly as early as this year. With a multibillion-dollar shortfall pending, the lawmakers said their fellow elected officials will be more supportive than ever for any new revenue source.
Addabbo said he was surprised to hear Cuomo say “sports betting” because he has never publicly uttered it before.
“This isn’t the green light,” Addabbo told The Action Network. “But it’s at least promising that it’s on his mind.”
“We’d have to get something in place by Dec. 21 to have any hope to start anything this year, so I don’t see that happening,” Addabbo added. “But we also can’t wait until April for the new budget. There are are many businesses in my area that will be shuttered by April.”
Addabbo said there is no constitutional problem with mobile sports betting as putting the servers at the site of the grandfathered in physical casinos would solve all the issues.
Addabbo also says that there are three additional licenses that the state can add before 2023. Resorts World, which is next to JFK Airport and MGM, which owns the Empire City Casino in Yonkers would be naturals, Addabbo said.
New York has a $17B shortfall, but when adding up all local money, Cuomo used $50B for the purposes of requesting his state’s piece of the government stimulus.
“The need for revenue is real and immediate,” Addabbo said