During Cuomo’s recent State of the State speech, the governor said he intends to use the revenue to help close a $3.1 billion fiscal gap.
“We invested in upstate casinos. Let’s authorize sports betting in the upstate casinos. It’s here, it’s a reality, and it will help generate activity in those casinos,” Cuomo said.
New York sports betting? Not so fast
Sports betting in the Empire State is a rather complex issue.
First, there is the 2013 law which authorized all four commercial casinos to offer sports betting to customers on-site. However, regulations are still needed.
Following the US Supreme Court decision last year, many had hoped that the NYS Gaming Commission would promulgate the necessary rules. But in the eight months since the landmark decision, zero progress has occurred.
Lawmakers tried to get a comprehensive sports betting bill passed last year, but unfortunately, the state Assembly failed to gather the necessary votes.
Recently, Sen. Joseph Addabbo, the new chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, pre-filed Senate Bill 17, a sports betting bill.
Addabbo’s new bill matches last year’s failed 2018 effort from his predecessor, Senator John Bonacic.
Following Cuomo’s speech, his budget director made it clear that additional steps must be taken.
Bad news for those hoping for broad sports betting in NY:
Cuomo's budget director Robert Mujica just said governor's office believes there would need to be a change to the state constitution to allow sports betting anywhere but in the existing private and Native casinos.
— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) January 15, 2019
Sports betting next steps
The legislative dance with sports betting is nothing new. However, with Cuomo adding sports betting as part of the budget, this could be the catalyst regulators have been waiting for.
Mobile and online sports betting are still major components that need to be addressed. Should the gaming commission move forward with regulations, they would only be for on-site wagering. To secure online wagering, additional legislation will be needed.
But while lawmakers attempt to make sense of the chaos in Albany, the state’s four upstate casinos have already secured lucrative sports betting partnerships.
- Rivers + Rush Street Interactive
- Resorts World Catskills + bet365
- Tioga Downs + FanDuel Sportsbook
- Del Lago + DraftKings Sportsbook
Tribal compacts also allow the Oneida and Seneca tribes to offer some form of sports wagering once their commercial counterparts are permitted to do so.
It’s still unknown if any bill will include the state’s struggling horse racing industry. Experts anticipate sports betting would add much-needed revenue to off-track betting (OTB) facilities and increase ancillary revenue for the tracks.
State law requires the budget to be in place by April 1, giving lawmakers a little over two months to take action.