The legalization of mobile sports betting and marijuana is the latest proposal to offset the impact of the coronavirus in New York and weather the upcoming fiscal crisis. The president of the New York Yankees franchise from Major League Baseball (MLB) Randy Levine came up with the proposal to help the cash-starved city balance its budget.
Call to Legalize Mobile Sports Betting
According to Levine, a former deputy mayor and labor chief under former mayor Rudi Giuliani, even the legalization of mobile sports betting and pots will not avert the deep cuts in government spending and the upcoming shedding of municipal jobs, and also proposed a new tax on wealthy hedge fund investors to generate revenues to fill the city coffers.
In less than a year, there will be a new mayoral election and the new mayor will face a significant crisis, Levine noted, outlining the lack of any ideas or programs put forward so far that would seem to work. Given the severity of the virus impact on New York’s economy and tax base, state legislators can no longer push back the issue with mobile sports betting, Randy Levine pointed out.
Urging state officials to support the city and pass the required legislation to legalize sports betting to allow New York to take advantage of the extra dollars other states are already using to pay for their budget shortfalls, Levine highlighted the outflow of funds to neighboring New Jersey already impacted New York.
Levine further argued that mobile sports betting turned out to be a cash cow for New Jersey and, despite lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo having debated on the possibility of legalization of mobile wagering in New York, there was no progress and the option to place bets via a mobile device is not available in the city yet.
Fourth Sports Betting Bill Died in Assembly
The mobile sports betting bill in the state S17D is still in the committee stage after the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee unanimously approved it in January only to see it die in the Assembly. Despite this, the bill’s main sponsor Senator Addabbo still believes it could pass before the end of the year.
In October, Addabbo expressed his strong belief that,
“…we do it this year… I’m hoping we’re able to implement it and get everything written in terms of regulations, equipment, contracts and everything else. By the time 2021 comes around it’s time for the Super Bowl and it’s time for March Madness. That’s my hope.”
According to Sen. Addabbo, the legalization of mobile sports betting would help the state address the $17 billion budget deficit and not rely on federal stimulus which may not be present next year at all. But the final passage would require Gov. Cuomo to side with the bill, something he has so far been reluctant to do.