With the passage of a budget resolution by the New York state Senate, mobile sports betting will soon be allowed to the great glee of sports fans who relish wagering on their favorite teams and events.
The restriction is that these bettors must go through four upstate casinos via computer servers: Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, Rivers Casino in Schenectady, the Del Lago Casino in Tyre near Rochester and Tioga Downs near Binghamton. This sits well with downstate bettors who need only open an account.
New legislation will eliminate the need for statewide gamblers to be physically present in these casinos in order to place sports betting wagers, involving miles and miles of travel. Anyone can place a bet right at home.
This is similar to laws passed in other states. “Sports betting is in play,” says Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Queens), Chair of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. “There’s a shot we can get this do.”
Mobile sports betting has to get through the state Assembly, no doubt after much discussion. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) have been hesitant about the proposed legalization. “We have severe constitutional concerns,” said Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi.
Cuomo’s office has announced their position that a state constitutional amendment is needed to approve mobile sports betting. This would take ages since two legislatures would have to make the decision followed by a voter referendum. According to Heastie, there isn’t a groundswell of support in the Assembly Democratic conference.
Others are more optimistic that mobile betting via the state casinos will pass muster. No one wants to lose revenues to New Jersey where 78% of local betting is on mobile devices. Of course, legislators want revenues for schools and job programs and sports betting can be a big player in funding. As a matter of fact, the upstate casinos are in jeopardy with a lot of jobs on the line. Imagine the impact of between ten and thirty million a year from gambling taxes.
A version of this article first appeared at nypost.com