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New York State Senator Says Online Sports Betting Proposal Isn’t Dead Yet: ‘We Have Until March’

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J.Conrad Williams, Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images. Pictured: Gov. Andrew Cuomo

An initial budget proposal unveiled this week by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo failed to mention mobile sports gambling as a way to aid the state’s $6 billion shortfall.

“This is not the time to come up with creative although irresponsible revenue sources to solve a problem which doesn’t really exist,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo accounted for perhaps expanding sports betting beyond current casinos and into others, but not online in any fashion.

So is New York off the table for 2020?

“We have until March to convince the governor that mobile sports gambling should be in our state,” said state senator Joe Addabbo, the greatest proponent of doing so. “We can introduce a separate bill, but it’s much more likely if it goes in the budget.”

The idea is to specifically earmark projected mobile sports gambling revenues to make up for spending in another area.

While geotracking has shown that many New Yorkers are heading to New Jersey to place their sports bets, Cuomo hasn’t seemed concerned about lost revenue. Other than saying mobile sports betting is currently unconstitutional, a claim Addabbo dismisses, Cuomo has failed to say what his issue with expansion is.

“If it’s gambling addiction, we have measures to address that,” said Addabbo.

As is currently set up, with four upstate casinos offering sports gambling, New York is realizing about 5% of its potential, according to consultancy firm Eiler & Krejcik.

New Jersey took in $4.5 billion in bets and generated more than $100 million in taxes alone in 2019. New York, by comparison, only received $700,000 in taxes from July to November 2019 via in-person sports betting.

“People have to get out and let it be known that they want mobile sports gambling here in New York,” Addabbo said.

New York, the fourth largest state, is the most populous state that has legalized sports gambling. California, Texas and Florida have all not done so.

Pennsylvania, the fifth largest state, has legal mobile sports betting and took in $1.49 billion in bets last year, with the vast majority of that handle coming after the state added in mobile during football season.

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