- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is considering the legalization of sports betting
- Mr. Cuomo seeks to close a $3.1 billion fiscal deficit
- Tribal casinos could be the only ones benefitting from Mr. Cuomo’s law
New York has long been eyed with temptation. For many, the State promises to be a vibrant market for sports betting and most recently – online poker. Only, legislative moves in that direction have been largely in favour of a select few individuals and their business.
New York Turns to Sports Betting for Extra Money
In the past, Kentucky and Michigan both had proponents heard about the potential financial windfall from regulating sports betting, and notably – poker. Something similar could be happening in New York.
Instead of seeking to create an open market, the mulled regulation for the go-ahead of sports betting might end up confining it to tribal casinos. In a sense, this is the opposite of the effect sought by gaming hopefuls.
Governor Andrew Cuomo just submitted his $170 billion budget to the state legislature, and based on reporting by Press Republican, the governor is looking to patch up a gaping $3.1 billion deficit through levying tax on gambling and the sale of marijuana.
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
USA Today correspondent Jon Campbell also shared his impressions of the gathering storms over New York’s sports betting industry-to-be. Mr. Campbell described the latest developments as bad news for anyone who had hoped for an open market for sports betting in the Empire State.
Understanding Sports Betting Legislation in New York
New York has been one of the first states to push ahead with the concept of sports betting. After successfully joining Illinois in a fight against the Wire Act of 1961 in 2011, New York suggested a sports betting law in 2013, allowing the state’s casinos to offer on-site sports betting. However, the legislation hasn’t actually been expanded to clear a large number of properties, with only four authorized venues operating:
- Del Lago Resort
- Tioga Downs
- Resorts World Catskills
At the end of 2018, the state’s lawmakers shot down another attempt to push through with legalizing the industry, but as soon as 2019 arrived, Senator Joseph Addabbo made his own dash for it, submitting another bill and effectively taking the baton from Senator John Bonacic, a now retired NY senator.
Questions Keep Piling On, But the Future Looks Slightly Brighter
There are certainly many questions unanswered. As they stand, Mr. Cuomo’s ambitions to legalize the segment are rather well-articulated, with him stating the following on Tuesday, January 15:
Let’s authorize sports betting in the upstate casinos. It’s here. It’s a reality, and it will generate activity in those casinos.
Determined to expand the industry, Mr. Cuomo must not overlook the fact that in order New York to obtain the fiscal gains from sports betting, it would have to focus on letting the industry run its course rather than confining it to a handful of venues.
As it is, nobody would benefit from a repeat of the 2013 law.