The Future of Mobile Sports Betting in New York: One State Senator Sounds Off

The Future of Mobile Sports Betting in New York: One State Senator Sounds Off article feature image

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michael Greller and Jordan Spieth

  • New York's 2019 fiscal year budget, which was approved on Monday, didn’t include a provision for the state to enter into mobile sports betting.
  • State Senator Joseph Addabbo told The Action Network that he still thinks mobile sports betting has a "60-40 chance" of getting done this year via a bill in the state house and senate.

On Monday, it became clear that mobile sports betting in New York would not be part of the state’s fiscal 2019 budget.

We caught up with New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who is chairman of the senate gaming committee, to get his reactions and ask him about the future of mobile sports betting in the future.

Darren: Sports gambling can take place in New York at four casinos upstate per a 2013 law that became activated when the Supreme Court overturned elements of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) last May. When is sports gambling in the state starting there?

Addabbo: Well, instead of starting when we should have started last summer, the regulations were finalized in January and then the required public comment time started. We should be able to get up in running at those casinos by the start of NFL season.

Darren: Why are you a proponent of mobile betting within the state?

Addabbo: Well, 78 percent of the handle in New Jersey is mobile. And my constituents in Queens are complaining that, in order to bet, they have to get in their cars and cross the border. The state is losing money to New Jersey legally and then there’s an estimated $9 billion a year in illegal bets happening in New York.

Darren: You tried to get mobile betting into the budget. Why did you think it deserved to be there?

Addabbo: It’s a budgetary item. It involves economic development, revenue could be earmarked towards education. About 80 percent of gaming revenues go towards education, which is the second largest part of the state budget.

Darren: Governor Cuomo had argued that mobile betting was unconstitutional because the only betting that the state constitution allows is bets that would be made at the four agreed to casinos. How do you rectify that?

Addabbo: We did. It’s not unconstitutional if the mobile servers to handle the bets reside at the approved casinos themselves. So we would just have to make a compact with the tribe and it wouldn’t require any kind of public referendum.

Darren: So it can’t be in the budget now. It doesn’t mean mobile betting is over for 2019, right?

Addabbo: Right. We’re meeting from April to June. So we now have to get a bill passed. It has to pass both the senate and the house committees, then the senate and the house and be signed by the governor. I would be really disappointed if we can’t get it done in this session because then we have to wait until January to start talking about it again.

Darren: Chances New York has mobile this year?

Addabbo: I’m cautiously optimistic. So I think we’ll say 60-40 chance of getting it done.