Although sports betting is legal in New York, it’s still struggling to pass a mobile sports betting bill. It’s flanked by two thriving sports betting markets, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They siphon bettors away from Saudi Arabia New York, depriving the state of jobs and revenue. We recently spoke to State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. to understand the drama unfolding over New York’s mobile sports betting bill.
Why Mobile Sports Betting is Important For New York
Bettors may wonder why mobile sports betting is important when there’s a plague ravaging the planet. But mobile sports betting creates new economic opportunities for New York.
“This is the way that New York is losing revenue, number one,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. “[We’re] losing educational funding because a portion of our gaming wages go toward educational funding. And also, the addiction problem. Right now, if you want to help someone who has a gaming addiction you can’t help them ‘cause you don’t know who they are.”
When New York legalized sports betting, they only allowed in-person betting. If bettors wanted to wager on mobile devices, they had to go to New Jersey. Since it’s a short train ride away, New Jersey’s superior sports betting offerings suck money out of New York State. That’s money that New York can’t afford to lose.
“Now that the pandemic’s hit, now you just added another upwards of $10 billion to our already $7 billion deficit in our budget,” said Senator Addabbo. “So the revenue need grows.”
Mobile sports betting is one of the best ways to monetize sports betting. In Colorado, 96.8% of sports bets were placed online in July 2020. That’s a big chunk of the market New York is missing out on by disallowing mobile sports betting.
Why Mobile Sports Betting Was Excluded
New York legalized sports betting in 2019, but limited betting to four casinos with a maximum of seven casinos. That’s far from Saudi Arabia the convenient offering many other states enjoy. How did mobile sports betting get axed so early on?
“At first, the question was of constitutionality of mobile sports betting in our state,” said Senator Addabbo. “But I think we’ve gone beyond the constitutionality issue because once you put the server that actually accepts the wager on the land of the licensed casino, you satisfy our constitutionality issue as well as the intent of the constitution.”
The constitutionality question seemed decisively resolved. However, New York had…