NY Mobile Sports Betting Bills Not What Cuomo Has In Mind

Mobile sports betting regulation is again in the focus of New York lawmakers, after long-term supporters of the measure Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow filed bills SB1183 and A1257 on January 7. Looking to introduce amendments to the state’s Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law and allow casinos to offer mobile wagers, the bills are not what Gov. Cuomo has in mind.

Casinos Exclusive Mobile Wagering Providers

The bills which were referred to the respective Senate and Assembly racing and wagering committees seek to authorize commercial and tribal casinos to offer mobile sports betting. Other venues, including stadiums and off-track betting facilities, would be able to offer mobile wagering, but only as casino affiliates by hosting on-site betting kiosks.

Mobile sports betting licenses would cost a licensing fee of $12 million and would allow licensees to operate under two skins, which for the 4 commercial and 3 tribal casinos in New York sets the maximum number of mobile sportsbook operators to 14. In addition to the licensing fee, operators would have to pay a gross revenue tax of 12%, whereas in-person sportsbooks pay only 8.5%.

In-play betting would be allowed only for operators which use official league data, while a royalty fee of 0.2% on sports betting handle would be levied on operators and returned to sports organizers.

Cuomo Has No Intention of Letting Casinos In

Both SB1183 and A1257 were filed only days after a statement from Gov. Cuomo indicated he changed his long-term position which argued that the measure would require a constitutional amendment. Pressured by the huge gap in the state budget, the governor could not afford any longer the luxury of omitting a serious source of tax revenue for the state.

But, unlike what the bills seek to introduce, Cuomo would rather offer mobile sports wagering in a model similar to the state lottery’s one, instead of using the model used by other states.

“Many states have done sports betting, but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos, but it makes minimal money for the state and I’m not here to give the casinos a lot of money.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Budget director Robert Mujica elaborated on Cuomo’s mobile sports betting model, highlighting that it would generate up to $500 million in taxes a year instead of $50 million.

The state Gaming Commission, after issuing a request-for-proposal (RFP), would select one of the applicants which would be licensed as the state’s sports operator or platform. The operator would need a partnership with one of the 4 upstate commercial casinos, Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, Rivers Casino in Schenectady, del Lago Casino in Tyre and Tioga Downs near Binghamton.

Further details regarding the mobile wagering model Cuomo is putting forth are expected to be revealed through the governor’s 2021 State of the State address on January 11.

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