The legislative drive for New York mobile sports betting has been paused as the State Gaming Commission extends the deadline for a gambling study being conducted by the Spectrum Gaming Group.
New York Mobile Sports Betting Study Commissioned in Late 2019
The New York State Gaming Commission commissioned Spectrum Gaming Group to conduct a study on the potential for New York mobile sports betting last November. The state will not move forward with any legalization concerning mobile sports betting until the study is complete.
For more than a year, the debate over legalizing mobile gambling in New York has been raging. The results of the Spectrum study were due last week but now Spectrum will have an unlimited amount of time to complete and submit its findings. A deadline for the completion of the study has not been set, which indicates doubt about when the New York mobile sports betting market will be open.
The New York State Gaming Commission cited the COVID-19 shutdown as the reason why the completion of the study has been delayed. The state’s regulators indicated that the fallout from the pandemic shutdown could have an impact on the future of gaming in the state, as well as the future of the industry. In light of this, the impact of the extended shutdown needs to be considered before a final version of the study is complete.
New York State is in Deep Financial Trouble
The US Supreme Court struck down the ban on sports betting more than two years ago, allowing many states to launch sports betting, both mobile and physical sportsbooks. New Jersey has been the leader of this trend and the Garden State has both physical sportsbooks and mobile sports gambling.
While casinos in other states suffered financially due to the coronavirus shutdowns, New Jersey managed to rake in millions of dollars in sports betting handle thanks to its mobile betting market.
Last year, New Jersey generated $4.5 billion in gambling handle, with $300 million of that coming in from the state’s sportsbooks. From that, the state raked in $36 million in tax revenue.
However, New York mobile sports betting has failed to get off the ground. Neighboring states Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have legalized sports betting and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont are also on the road to legalization. While New York has allowed four upstate casinos to open on-site sportsbooks in 2019, Governor Cuomo has consistently vetoed mobile gambling.
Addabbo and Cuomo at Loggerheads
New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. has pushed to make New York mobile sports betting a reality for years. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo has consistently vetoed any moble gambling legislation that crosses his desk. The governor thinks the state’s constitution would need an amendment to allow New York mobile sports betting to be legal.
Senator Addabbo estimates the state could make up to $200 million in yearly revenue. “We do not have the luxury as a state of refusing revenue at this point. The fact is, we have a severe budget deficit. Even before the coronavirus shutdown we had it, and now there’s a greater need for revenue,” Addabbo said.
Addabbo went on to point out, “We all share the concern for those with a gambling addiction, but right now, New Yorkers are going to New Jersey for mobile betting and they’re doing it illegally. So we can’t help them if they have an addiction since we don’t know who they are. So that’s one of several issues that we address in our mobile gambling bill. That’s why I prepared a ‘Plan, Pass and Prepare’ strategy to try and get New York mobile sports betting accomplished this year.”