Cuomo Does Not Clear Up NY Mobile Sports Betting Questions

Cuomo Does Not Clear Up NY Mobile Sports Betting Questions
© USA Today

After three years of fighting to get New York mobile sports betting into legislation, it was finally accomplished Wednesday when the state budget for fiscal year 2022 passed.

During a 67-minute virtual press briefing Wednesday morning in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reviewed highlights of the budget that was passed by both the state Senate and Assembly early Wednesday, and addressed the mobile sports betting legislation in New York.

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“Mobile sports betting will pass. The law allows the state to directly operate mobile sports betting, so the $500 million will go to the state rather than a lot of middlemen who operate mobile sports betting in what many of the other states have done,” Cuomo said. “This is more like the state lottery where we operate and get the resources.”

On the subject of any new casinos in the future: “The law does not authorize any new casinos. I’m opposed to any casino authorization plan that is subject to politics. We have a gaming commission that makes the decision on the merits. There is a lot of money involved in casinos. There are a lot of lobbyists, there is a lot of political contributions and I want to make sure that any decision is made purely on the merits and I will have nothing to do with a casino plan that can be politicized.”

Bet365, BetRivers, DraftKings and FanDuel have retail brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in the four upstate casinos.

Projected Revenue Seems High

The new budget agreement revealed Tuesday is projected to bring the state $99 million in SFY 2021-22 with revenue growing to approximately $500 million per year over multiple years, according to some reports. But those figures have been questioned by industry experts.

Sports betting providers would be chosen through a competitive bidding process based upon certain scoring methods to balance revenue to the state. The state’s Gaming Commission to determine the best platforms and operators for New York long term.

The proposal authorizes the state’s Gaming Commission to solicit bids from interested platforms (a minimum of two) and operators (a minimum of four). Platforms which opt to partner with a Native American tribe or nation will be given additional points in the bidding/scoring process.

After reading the language of the bill, the application process for providers should begin prior to July 1, with a 30-day period for applications to come in and a 150-day period to select a provider.

What About Tribal Casinos?

A hot topic of negotiations during the last week or so has been, how would the upstate Indian tribal casinos be included in the framework of this legislation? It looks like it will still be a discussion topic as all signs point to them being left out.

“We have to work with not only the state lottery but with the New York State Gaming Commission as well as how to ensure their involvement moving forwards and post-budget,” Sen. Joseph Addabbo, chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, told on Monday. “I’ve always said once the budget ends, the real work begins and we will be working with the governor and his staff to provide more details and a clearer picture for all New Yorkers.”

Addabbo said that lawmakers will continue to work with the New York State Gaming Commission and the New York Lottery to ensure tribal involvement in the process to come.

“I think that’s an issue we’ll have to work on post-budget,” Addabbo said. “Right now we have a framework, and we’ll be working with the governor and administration to flesh out the details so the picture becomes clear to everybody."

Money for Youth Sports, Problem Gambling

The bill also sets aside $6 million annually for problem gambling services and $5 million for youth sports in underserved areas statewide, with the remainder of this money to supplement education funding.

“We want to thank the legislature and Gov. Cuomo for the progress made in bringing legal, regulated, mobile sports betting to New York. We look forward to learning more as the process continues to unfold,” said Griffin Finan, vice president of government affairs for DraftKings.

Earlier this week Cuomo mentioned DraftKings and FanDuel, hypothetically, as possible vendors.

Now that online sports betting is included in the state budget, it should be an interesting next couple of months as the process unfolds in New York.