The New York State Assembly and Senate have included a competitive mobile sports betting market in their 2021-2022 budget proposals, despite Gov. Cuomo’s support for a state-run model. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A big step for NY mobile
Lawmakers in the state of New York have tried and failed over the years to add mobile betting to the state’s sports wagering market. However, this year the wheels are in motion, with the Assembly and Senate both including a legal market in their budget proposals on the weekend.
the first time the Assembly has included a mobile market in its budget
The Assembly released its one-house budget first on Saturday, followed by the Senate’s proposal the next day. Both feature details on a New York State mobile sports betting market reflecting bills filed by Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow in January. This is the first time the Assembly has included a mobile market in its budget proposal.
Most notably, the two chambers have opted for a multiple-provider approach. This runs counter to the state-run model suggested by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, making two mobile skins available to each of the state’s four commercial casinos and three tribal operators.
Both the Assembly and Senate voted to approve their respective budgets on Monday.
Fleshing out the details
In early January, Governor Cuomo confirmed his newfound support for a mobile sports wagering market. Despite the governor expressing a desire for a lottery-like model, Sen. Addabbo Jr and Assemblyman Pretlow jointly filed legislation for a competitive market. S 1183 and A 1257 passed through their respective committees later that month.
Reflecting that legislation, the Assembly’s A 3009 budget proposal would make 14 mobile sports betting skins available in total. It includes a $12m licensing fee for mobile operators, along with a 12% tax on gross gaming revenue. In addition, off-track betting facilities and sports stadiums would be able to partner with a casino to host mobile betting kiosks.
The Assembly’s proposal also includes revenue estimations for the authorization of mobile sports wagering. The House predicts a fiscal impact of $180m in the market’s first year, including licensing fees from mobile operators. The Assembly expects this to decrease to $86m in 2023, before rising to $112m in 2024 and $118m in 2025.
The Senate’s budget proposal, S 2509B, shares many of the same policies. It also allows for three more casinos in the state, pushing the number of sports betting skins to 20. The Senate hopes to begin a request for applications on or before July 1 for the new casinos, and proposes a license fee of $500m for each, adding $1.5bn to state coffers.
What about Cuomo?
Governor Cuomo has typically taken a hard stance against the legalization of mobile betting since the repeal of the federal ban on US sports wagering in May 2018. As a result, any legislation has so far failed to make it through the Assembly. This includes Pretlow’s last bill, which died before it was able to reach the Assembly floor in March 2019.
This is not a moneymaker for private interests”
Although Cuomo has changed his tune on the subject, his vision for sports betting differs from that of other lawmakers. He has consistently argued that a lottery-like model would provide the most profits for the state. Commenting in January, he said: “This is not a moneymaker for private interests to collect just more tax revenue.” Cuomo has projected that a centralized betting market would generate $500m in annual tax for the state.
Now, three proposals are on the table, but the New York State House and Senate remain relatively aligned in their plans for a legal market. After a series of negotiations, Governor Cuomo will need to sign a budget into law at the start of the 2021-2022 fiscal year, on April 1.