Executive Budget Out, But Cuomo Still Being Cagey On Sports Betting Details

Written By Matthew Kredell on January 20, 2021

Not everything is worth the wait. That’s the lesson from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s online sports betting proposal.

Since Cuomo announced plans to include mobile sports betting in his executive budget two weeks ago, New Yorkers have anxiously awaited the details.

The executive budget finally hit the governor’s website late Tuesday, after he had re-emphasized his plans for the state to run online sports betting in his budget address.

The budget provides few details on how Cuomo’s state-run online sports betting plan would work in New York. Nor how it can be constitutional and successful.

Details of Cuomo’s state-run online sports betting

The details of the governor’s mobile sports betting proposal appear on pages 383 and 384 of the revenue bill.

The proposal amends Section 1367 of the Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law with the following:

“Mobile sports wagering shall be permitted by the commission through a platform provider or providers selected pursuant to a competitive bidding process conducted by the commission. The winning platform provider or providers shall use the technology necessary to ensure all bettors are physically within approved locations within the state and ensure the necessary safeguards against abuses and addictions are in place.”

Additional details include:

  • A licensed casino may offer mobile sports betting only when conducted in conformance with the above passage.
  • Mobile sports betting revenue shall be excluded from gross gaming revenue and be returned to the state for deposit into the State Lottery Fund for education aid.
  • Budgeted revenues from mobile sports betting include $49 million for the 2022 fiscal year and $357 million for the 2023 fiscal year. At market maturity, budget director Robert Mujica projects $500 million annually.

Lawmakers preparing to negotiate online sports betting

The only real new detail there is that mobile sports betting revenue will go to the State Lottery Fund. The rest was part of the agenda Cuomo laid out last week.

That could be in conflict with this 1984 opinion issued by then-New York attorney general when Cuomo’s father, Gov. Mario Cuomo, tried to do sports betting through the lottery.

That the governor doesn’t have a fully-fledged plan could make it easier for lawmakers to negotiate with him.

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow followed the Senate’s lead by passing his sports betting proposal Wednesday through Racing and Wagering Committee.

The 20-page bill allows all four New York commercial casinos to participate in online sports betting and finds ways to include Native American tribes, racetracks, off-track betting parlors, stadiums, and arenas. It also sets up systems for integrity monitoring, data sharing, consumer protections, and addressing problem gambling.

Cuomo already has shown a willingness to adjust his proposal. It seems he originally intended for there to be a single online sports betting operator in New York. However, he allowed for the possibility of multiple operators after hearing industry objections.

Photo by Feng Yu / Dreamstime
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Matthew Kredell

Matthew Kredell reports on efforts to legalize sports wagering and online casino gaming around the country. He covered the multi-year effort to legalize online sports betting in New York from the beginning. He talks to state lawmakers, lobbyists and industry representatives to get the scoop on new gambling developments in the Empire State and was at the forefront when the state budget included the authorization of legal online sports betting in 2021. Matthew has covered the legal gambling industry since 2007, getting into regulated sports betting three years later. An alum of USC, Matthew began his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News. He has also contributed to publications that include Playboy, Men’s Journal and ESPN.

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