New York may have been dealt a budgetary blow by President Donald Trump’s decision to halt COVID-19 federal stimulus talks, but despite the setback, New York’s mobile sports betting bill could still see the light of day this year, N.Y. Sen. Joseph Addabbo told NY Sports Day in an interview.
“I remain optimistic that we do it this year. Before Dec. 31 of 2020. I’m hoping we’re able to implement it and get everything written in terms of regulations, equipment, contracts and everything else. By the time 2021 comes around it’s time for the Super Bowl and it’s time for March Madness. That’s my hope.”
Mobile Sports Betting Could Help Plug New York’s $17 Billion Budget Deficit
“We need revenue. Aside from the federal aid, we need revenue. The federal aid might not be there next year. What we’re seeing it’s very inconsistent, it’s certainly unreliable. So we need to look at ourselves in the mirror as a state and say what can we do to address the $17 billion deficit aside from the federal stimulus?”
“When you politicize federal stimulus, my people get hurt. So people are getting hurt by the politics of it all,” he added.
With the pressing need to plug a multi-billion dollar budget gap, legalizing mobile sports betting is seen as an attractive potential revenue source among state lawmakers. As it stands, New York’s fragmented gambling market is actively costing the state money, Addabbo says. As much as a billion dollars annually between illegal bookies and New York residents taking the short 30-minute drive to New Jersey to place their bets.
“When you look at mobile sports betting, it’s attainable this year. We could solve the loss of revenue to New Jersey, our neighboring state that’s doing it so well. We can address the loss of revenue to those who do it illegally,” Addabbo said.
“My constituents in southern Queens, we want to do it in our own state. We want to do it safely. I don’t want to be on some online offshore account where God knows who has my money. I think aside from the federal stimulus, we need to do something that’s going to provide substantial, consistent, and reliable revenue going forward.”
“Nothing Is Off The Table” When It Comes To Skins
Addabbo said the single-skin proposal is just a starting point.
“Today I have zero skins. If you start out with a single skin in year one so you get your footing and implement it correctly, you can roll out in year two or year three with additional skins. The idea is here we have a starting point. Nothing is off the table. If you want to create the best product you can possibly have, nothing should ever be off the table. You should be able to look at other states, see what they’ve excelled at and where they fell short.”
Fourth Time’s The Charm For NY Mobile Sports Betting Bill?
N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been hesitant to back previous incarnations of the mobile sports betting bill, citing constitutional concerns that limit the number of casinos in the state to seven. Addabbo said it’s his hope that as the bill continues to evolve, Cuomo will get on board.
“I’m hopeful that the governor embraces this, and like we’ve seen in the past, when the governor wants to do something, we do it, and normally we do it well. It’ll evolve, and we’ll make it better as we go along. But I’m hoping we have a good enough product come Superbowl time that we have an opportunity to really try and maximize the potential of gaming revenue, job growth, and educational funding in our state.”
The current incarnation of the bill, S17D, is the fourth version of the legislation so far. It’s seen a number of amendments, including additional safety and support measures to combat gambling addiction. It passed the State Senate by an overwhelming 53-3 margin in June of 2019.
Final passage would require Gov. Cuomo’s signature, and Addabbo said keeping the issue in his field of vision is an important step towards getting it.
“It means nothing to our governor if the issue is not out there. Hopefully those who are reading are encouraged to reach out to the governor and tell him, hey, I want to do it in my state. I don’t want to go to Jersey, I don’t want to do it illegally. I want to do it in a legal way that’s regulated and safe. The more the governor hears this from his constituents throughout the state is critical to moving this forward.”