On May 13, 2019, a bill that would allow gambling casinos to offer sports betting on digital devices was approved by the New York State Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.
Bill S.17-A-Addabbo/A.6113-A-Pretlow would:
- Require each casino that offers mobile sports betting to pay the state a $12 million license fee and a 0.2% royalty fee to the governing bodies of the various sports that are being bet upon;
- Provide the state with a 12% tax to be paid by casinos on the gross revenue derived from mobile sports betting; and
- Require bettors to be located in the State of New York while betting on sporting events.
The bill now moves to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration.
The forward movement on this legislation comes as the Cuomo administration is in the process of finalizing state regulations that would allow on-site sports betting at New York’s four full-fledged upstate casinos. The proposed bill is much more far-reaching than the proposed regulations; it would allow mobile sports betting from any location within the state, provided that the betting is processed through an electronic server administered by a casino. Supporters of mobile sports betting contend that New York is missing out on tax benefits that other state governments are reaping. On the other hand, according to AuburnPub.com, “Gov. Andrew Cuomo [has] raised constitutional concerns about mobile sports betting. He believes a constitutional amendment is needed before the state can accept wagers on mobile platforms.” (However, a Cuomo administration official recently stated that the sports betting bill was “under review” at the Governor’s office.)
Mobile sports betting is, indeed, unconstitutional in the State of New York. It is also ill-advised. It is bad enough that four new casinos have opened in our state in the past five years; allowing mobile sports betting will only result in more people falling prey to gambling addiction.