July 29, 2020 3 min read


NY Lawmakers Divided on the Subject of Mobile Betting

New York lawmakers are again considering the legalization of mobile sports betting in the state, a report in a local online media suggests. As income tax revenues in the states have collapsed, much like sales tax receipts, gas and hotel taxes and almost every other source of funding for the state to help balance the books, proponents of legalizing mobile wagering believe it is their time to settle the matter.

Lawmakers in the state unofficially discuss the option to reconvene and consider how to help the state close a deficit in the region of $13 billion, seeking ways to avoid cuts to public schools and not-for-profit organizations that support health care and other state services, and supporters of mobile wagering insist the legalization of mobile sports books is a viable option to offset a significant part of the missing funds.

Lawmakers are not that convinced of the merits of mobile sports betting, as there are clear lines of division among them. One group firmly believes the legalization of sports betting would rather favour sports leagues and gambling operators under the current revenue-sharing scheme, and another one argues there is too much gambling in the state already.

On the other side, Governor Cuomo is adamant that such a form of gambling should be ratified during a multiyear constitutional amendment process that includes a statewide referendum of New York residents, placing doubts whether if legislators pass a bill he will eventually sign it into law.

Mobile Sports Betting Issue Not Raised

Despite reports that Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has been privately polling his Democratic colleagues, the topic of online sports betting was not raised during the meetings of Senate and Assembly which reconvened last week in Albany. Any proposition would need 76 votes to go through, but Heastie’s unofficial count found out only 69 firm yes voters for it.

Current developments and the significant delay if the constitutional amendment path is taken, imply the only viable option for mobile sports betting is to be included in a revenue-raising package, and many lawmakers believe it is the way forward, the report in the media outlines. Whether this will happen and when, there is no clear answer to both questions. It is clear the state is in a dire need of revenue and this need would not just disappear like that in the near future.

The issue of legalizing mobile betting is also pending on the outcome between Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress and President Trump, as the amount of federal money they decide to send to the states would determine the level of cuts or tax raises states like New York would have to implement.

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