With less than two weeks to go before the end of New York’s current legislative session, the clock is ticking down on efforts to get mobile wagering into the state’s sports betting legislation.
But Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has so far been resistant to its inclusion, has not yet ruled out the possibility of mobile sports betting being in place as soon as this month.
Cuomo raised faint hopes for mobile operators during an interview on WAMC Radio with host Alan Chartock, hinting that its introduction into law is possible, albeit not even on his top 10 list of priorities. He cautioned: “I think the time is short and the list is long, so I would counsel the legislative leaders to get the priorities done, because these priorities are not easy.”
Cuomo’s consistent stance is that an amendment to state constitution is needed to allow remote wagering via mobile, a point that’s been contested vigorously by State Senator Joseph Addabbo. He argues, in turn, that as long as the servers used in the wagering process are located within the casinos that offer sports betting, no such amendment is necessary.
If Addabbo is optimistic of movement on mobile, he remains cautiously so. In a recent statement in the New York Post he said: “The last conversation I had with the governor’s office was last week, and we were still not on the same page.”
While New York’s policy makers are evidently looking to use sports betting as a means of generating new income, it seems inconceivable that they would leave mobile wagering out of the final equation. Already, sports bettors are faced with either a lengthy journey to the four upstate casinos to wager in person or a shorter trip across the river to New Jersey to place a bet. And the state is losing money in the process.
That is the view taken by Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, Chairman of the Assembly’s Racing and Wagering Committee and sponsor of his own sports betting bill. “New York is losing tens of millions of dollars right now, and the money with a sports betting bill is going to education. So everyone should be excited about doing this,” he said.
Even taking into consideration Cuomo’s teasing remark on WAMC, the odds appear to be stacked against mobile betting making it onto the statute books before legislature’s closing deadline. If money talks – and it often does in the case of bolstering state budgets – it will need to be significantly more vocal if New York’s sports betting ambitions are to be fully realized.