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New York Legislators Begin To Push For Mobile Sports Betting

Lawmakers Looking At Online Wagering To Help Reduce The Budget Deficit

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The COVID-19 pandemic might be the spark that brings online or mobile sports betting to New York.

The Empire State launched its legal and regulated sports betting market in 2019, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been steadfast against the addition of mobile or online sports betting. Instead, he has chosen to throw his support behind the current structure of keeping betting restricted to just the four upstate commercial casinos and the rest of the tribal properties.

But as New York continues to keep some of the most burdensome restrictions in the country on its local economy, the state coffers are beginning to run dry. With many sectors of the economy shut down, some lawmakers have begun looking at online sports betting as a potential source of tax revenue, according to a report from Spectrum News.

“With businesses operating under socially distancing guidelines, health and safety restrictions and doing all or some of their business virtually and online, now is the time for New York to take the next step and move forward with mobile sports betting,” said Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.

The Democrat is a sitting member of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee, representing Schenectady, home of Rivers Casino, one of the four commercial casinos in the state.

Cuomo shuttered the brick-and-mortar gambling industry in mid-March, along with the rest of the country, but kept his state’s commercial casinos closed much longer than the rest of the country. Casino workers staged a rally to reopen the properties before Cuomo finally allowed the market to operate again in mid-September, with several restrictions in place. Poker rooms at the commercial casinos are still closed.

Adding mobile and online sports betting to a market has shown to increase the viability of it. In New Jersey, sports bettors have been setting records with how much they are betting on sports. The overwhelming majority of the wagers have been placed through mobile apps.

After falling short of revenue goals early in its market’s rollout in 2019, Rhode Island’s legislature decided to pass a second bill that would allow for online betting.