Sports Betting Included In Enacted State Budget

On April 7, 2021, the New York State Legislature finished passing budget bills for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The $212 billion budget—passed six days late—includes tax increases for millionaires, a $3 billion environmental bond act to be placed on the ballot in 2022, and a controversial measure providing one-time unemployment benefits to illegal immigrants.

Sadly, the budget legalizes mobile sports betting as well. New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms has opposed this measure for years on both constitutional grounds and policy grounds. The measure will allow at least four operators to be licensed to conduct mobile sports betting. Operators will be allowed to partner with Native American tribes if they so desire, and will be given preferential treatment in the application process if they do so. Applicants will pay a whopping $25 million as an application fee. Thankfully, “sports betting through on-site kiosks at tracks, stadiums, arenas, and some OTB parlors was not included in the finalized budget deal.”

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is disappointed at the passage of this budget legislation. The Empire State already has racetrack casinos, video lottery terminals, full-fledged Vegas-style casinos, off-track betting, and a state lottery. Adding yet another mechanism to entice New Yorkers into gambling their money away is irresponsible; doing so in the hope that their foolishness will enrich the state’s coffers is selfish.