New York missed another opportunity this session to pass legal mobile sports betting. A bill to legalize it made it to the Assembly but eventually ran out of time. Even if it would have made it through the Assembly, there was no guarantee that it would have been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo has been a stick in the mud towards legal mobile sports betting in the state since day one.
Cuomo has been saying that the state needs a constitutional amendment in order to bring legal mobile betting to the state. However, some state officials (and law firms) don’t think that would be necessary. One of the biggest advocates of legalizing mobile sports betting in New York, Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (whose bill tried to legalize mobile sports betting at the last minute), thinks that Cuomo is hiding behind his excuse. “They don’t believe it’s unconstitutional, in my opinion. They just don’t want it,” said Addabbo Jr.
Addabbo’s bill would have allowed for New York’s four upstate casinos to offer state-wide mobile sports betting. They would have also been able to partner with the declining racetracks and off-track betting facilities in the state. Now those industries are going to continue to be in decline without the inclusion of mobile sports betting.
Helping The Neighbors
As New York continues to fight with itself over the idea of mobile sports betting, neighboring states will continue to take advantage. The majority of New York City’s massive population is over an hour and a half from the nearest casino that will have a sportsbook. Very few, if any, of those sports bettors will make the journey upstate to place a bet, especially a small or mediocre bet, when they can just cross the Hudson River and bet in New Jersey via mobile.
The state of New Jersey is passing Nevada as the sports betting king in the United States, and it has New York to thank. It’s a wonder if Cuomo’s desire to avoid bringing legal mobile sports betting to the Empire State has anything to do with the success in New Jersey? It seems as if Cuomo has interests in New Jersey’s success. There really seems to be no other excuse as to why he is hesitant to bring mobile sports betting to the state.
Pennsylvania can also benefit from New York and Cuomo’s stubbornness. Although not as much as New Jersey, Pennsylvania can see some sports betting handle from the southern part of New York. Pennsylvania now has three state-wide mobile sportsbooks in operation.
It appears New York is years away from the possibility of bringing legal mobile sports betting to its residents. The longer they wait, the longer New Jersey remains top dog and continues to benefit financially. With over 80 percent of sports betting handle coming from mobile platforms in New Jersey, it is clear that mobile is the future.
Some experts expect mobile sports betting to account for as much as 90 percent of the handle in the United States within five years. It appears New York will be a part of that 10 percent that is stuck in the stone ages of sports betting.
With all the money that New York is losing in revenue, you have to wonder, what is Cuomo thinking?