Cuomo Says He Wants NY Mobile Sports Betting Run Like Lottery
The online sports betting New Yorkplans are now front and center as Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his 2022 Executive Budget in Albany Tuesday. But Cuomo again said he wants it to be run by the state like the lottery.
It is a model that has not worked in the U.S. sports betting market. States that have lottery-run, single-source sports betting platforms have had numerous issues. A state Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that allows for more operators and a competitive online sports betting market, which is good for consumers, but is in stark contrast to Cuomo’s plan.
With New York online gambling facing a deficit of $15 billion because of the continuing coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty of what the federal government will do regarding federal aid under President-elect Joe Biden, the worst-case scenario for New York is that it would need to cut/raise $9 billion.
On Tuesday, 21 minutes into his remarks, Cuomo reiterated the need for mobile sports betting, but stuck with his original thought process on having the state lottery run it, so the state reaps the revenue.
“Mobile sports betting we think could raise $500 million dollars. Many states have done it. Here the question is not really whether or not we do mobile sports betting, the question is more how?” Cuomo said. “Who makes the profit and this is very lucrative. One proposal is we allow casinos to run mobile sports betting. That’s very good for casinos and the people that support casinos.
”The second alternative is to have the people of the state of New York actually get the profits from mobile sports betting and run it the way we run the state lottery, which is state-run and the state gets all the revenue. I’m with the people and I believe the people of the state should get the revenues. This is not a moneymaker for private interests to collect just more tax revenue. We want the actual revenue from sports betting.”
Cuomo has offered few details of his plan, and it wasn't made much clearer Tuesday.
It appears that Cuomo’s model will be similar to the one used by New Hampshire. Although the law allows for up to five operators, New Hampshire chose DraftKings as a sole operator and the state gets 51% of the revenue. If another operator was in the market, the percentage drops dramatically. DraftKings also can have up to 10 retail sites in New Hampshire.
Cuomo’s proposed budget now goes the state legislature with a budget deadline of April 1.
Senate Committee Advances Mobile Sports Betting Bill
Earlier Tuesday morning — on the other side of the spectrum — the State Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee’s met for the first time this year. In a 20-minute meeting, the committee passed S1183, introduced on Jan. 7 by New York State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.-D (15th State District), chairman of the committee.
The bill, which provides and defines the terms for regulation of sports betting and mobile sports wagering and opens wagering to multiple sports operators with locations at sports stadiums and arenas to racetracks and casinos, now moves to the state senate’s finance committee.
“I’ll have a discussion with Sen. (Liz) Krueger, Chair of Senate Finance Committee, at some point, while also simultaneously advocating for mobile sports betting in New York through our budget negotiations,” Addabbo, Jr. told Gambling.com in a text message after the meeting.
Addabbo has previously questioned Cuomo’s plan.
"This is a volume business and we have to provide more in order to compete with New Jersey and other states that have mobile betting. We want to offer a better product,” Addabbo said last week. “The more inclusion we have and the more opportunities and outlets we can provide to people means it will provide more job creation and more revenue for the state.”
Other bill measures approved at Tuesday’s committee meeting included S1379, which relates to authorizing licensed authorized organizations to conduct certain poker tournaments as licensed games of chance fundraisers; S1442, which relates to the aftercare of retired race horses; and S1463, which relates to the thoroughbred breeding and development fund.
Still Unclear on Number of Operators
In a news release posted on the governor’s website two weeks ago, Cuomo said the state would “select and license a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports wagering in New York.” The operator also has to be affiliated with one of the state’s four commercial casinos.
Some of the biggest online sportsbooks already have partnerships, including DraftKings and del Lago Resort Casino in Waterloo and FanDuel New York and Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols. BetRivers New York is the sportsbook for Rivers Casino in Schenectady and bet365 is affiliated with Resorts World Catskills in Monticello.
After last Thursday’s fourth installment of his 2021 State of the State Address the wording changed to say “one or more providers to offer mobile sports wagering in New York.”
Last Thursday, Addabbo, Jr. told Gambling.com that “it’s a step in the right direction if he is willing to open up to more operators.”
For now, after Cuomo’s remarks Tuesday, the picture again seems hazy.
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