New York Finally Eyes Mobile Sports Betting
The New York Assembly is polling its members to gauge support for mobile betting legislation. The push comes amid the budget crunch resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (l.) says he has more than enough votes to approve the bill.
With the tax base crushed by the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Assembly has launched a survey among its members on whether to legalize mobile sports betting as a way to increase revenue.
Staffers for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the Democratic majority started questioning lawmakers July 16, days before the legislature re-convenes, according to the New York Post. A lot of Democrats have supported mobile betting proposals but until now, Heastie and Governor Andrew Cuomo have not.
The pandemic impact changed everything.
“I was not favorably inclined in the past,” said Tarrytown Democratic Assemblyman, Tom Abinanti.
Mobile sports bets would generate millions of dollars in license fees, taxes and other revenues for the state, he said.
“New Jersey is doing well with it. New Jersey is taking money from New Yorkers,” he said.
Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow, a Democrat from Westchester said he has secured 85 votes to pass a bill that needs only 76.
Pretlow said Heastie’s poll is a good sign.
Legislation would require bettors to register with one of the upstate casinos in order to get a sports-betting app, similar to how bettors sign up with the New York Racing Association to place bets.
In-person sports betting is permitted at four upstate casinos: Rivers Casino, Del Lago, Resorts World Catskills and Tioga Downs. Betting in sports lounges is also authorized in full-service casinos operated by the Akwesasne Mohawk, Oneida, and Seneca nations.
Yet another avenue under consideration would amend the constitution to permit online sports betting. That approach would take a number of years with votes by two successive legislatures, followed by a voter referendum.
Cuomo insists a constitutional amendment is the only way to go. Pretlow and the Senate disagree.
Meanwhile, the start of MLB and the resumption of NBA play in late July figured in the decision to re-start the sportsbooks run by the Oneida Indian Nation at Turning Stone Resort, Yellow Brick Road Casino and Point Place Casino, according to NYup.com.
Each sportsbook includes betting at staffed windows or at kiosks, along with big-screen TVs, and food and beverages. Bets can only be placed if physically present in the sportsbook; no mobile betting is allowed at this time. College teams residing in New York are also off limits.
The sportsbooks will limit customers to 50 percent capacity as part of an effort to reduce the chance of spreading the coronavirus. While the Oneidas and other Indian nations have reopened their casinos, commercial casinos remain closed. Indian nations do not have to abide with orders issued by state government.