Cuomo Offers Few NY Mobile Sports Betting Details in Speech

Cuomo Offers Few NY Mobile Sports Betting Details in Speech
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During his much-anticipated 2021 State of the State Address Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated his desire to get mobile sports betting approved and signed into in law this year.

Although Cuomo did not offer any new details during his 45-plus minute speech to New York citizens from the Albany state capital, he did say sports betting was a way to generate revenue for the state during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Reached by email Monday after Cuomo’s address, New York State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.-D (15th State District), chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming And Wagering Committee, said there was nothing new to report since last week. He said more info should be coming forth before next Tuesday — the deadline for submission of the state’s executive budget to the legislature.

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The budget document that starts the budget negotiation process with the Senate and Assembly should offer more details from Cuomo on his sports betting proposal.

A budget needs to be approved by April 1 and Cuomo said he would like to enact two revenue streams to help battle the current COVID-19 financial crisis — legalizing adult-use recreational cannabis and state-sponsored mobile sports betting. He said that 22 minutes into his speech.

In a tweet Sunday night, Cuomo said, “Online sports betting is a rapidly evolving market and allowing it in New York will keep revenue here at home that can help us rebuild post-COVID.”

Cuomo Proposal Restricts Market

Cuomo, who gave sports bettors and the industry some optimism last week when he said online sports betting would be in his state budget plan, later suggested that "we want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery. Where the state gets the revenues.”

Addabbo said in response that “our vision greatly differs from theirs.” States with lottery-run, single-source sports betting platforms have had numerous issues.

Under Cuomo's plan, the New York State Gaming Commission would request proposals to select and license a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports wagering in New York. This operator or platform must have a partnership with one of the existing licensed commercial casinos. The Commission will also require any entity operating mobile wagering apps include safeguards against abuses and addiction.

Both the State Senate and House are at odds with Cuomo’s proposal and filed sports betting legislation last week that included multiple operators. Cuomo has said it is up to the legislature to decide on what the bill that is sent to him looks like.

NY Bills Include Multiple Operators

Senate bill 1183, sponsored by Addabbo, would allow four commercial casinos and tribal casinos to offer mobile betting, with each casino receiving two online skins to partner with online platforms with a total of up to 14 mobile sports operators in New York.

Addabbo questioned Cuomo’s approach to sports betting last week before filing his legislation.

Assembly bill 1257, sponsored by another major sports betting supporter, J. Gary Pretlow (District 89), chair of the Committee on Racing and Wagering in the Assembly, is currently in committee, but it mirrors the Senate bill.

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Many of the financial aspects in previous drafts of Senate legislation are also in the bill, including a 12% tax on mobile bets and 0.2% royalty fee on betting handle that in turn would be paid back to professional sports leagues.

New York would be the first in the nation to enact that fee, which in the past was an unpopular proposal, for leagues.

Some of the biggest online sportsbooks are already partnered with casinos in the state, including DraftKings and del Lago Resort Casino in Waterloo and FanDuel and Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols. BetRivers is the sportsbook for Rivers Casino in Schenectady.

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