New York Senate Approves Mobile Sports Betting Bill, Hurdles Still Remain

Jun 18, 2019 10:00 AM EDT

The New York State Senate passed a sports betting bill on Monday that, if passed 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, it hardly means this is a done deal. The Assembly doesn’t automatically have to bring it to a vote and Cuomo has previously said that mobile betting could be unconstitutional.

And then there’s the timeline. Barring an extension — which there has been some whispers about — the state legislative session closes for the year on Wednesday.

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 Daniel Wallach.

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.

The lack of speed with which the state has moved on mobile betting has surprised many, especially given how neighboring New Jersey has turned into Las Vegas East.

In its first year of sports betting, New Jersey took in more than $3 billion in bets. About 80 percent of bets came in on mobile, some of that from New Yorkers, who crossed the border by train, car or boat to make the bets.

“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.”

UPDATE: Late on Tuesday evening, just hours after the Senate passed this bill and put it in the Assembly’s hands, the New York Post reported that the bill was “all but dead.” Gov. Cuomo has previously said that implementing mobile sports betting would require an amendment to New York’s constitution, and according to the Post, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie agrees. Assembly sponsor Gary Pretlow told the Post that he’s been “trying to convince [Cuomo and Heastie] that is totally untrue.”

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