Legalization of Mobile Sports Betting Back on the New York Legislature’s 2020 Session

New York state lawmakers have returned to Albany for their 2020 legislative session, with some of them being impatient to take the possible addition of mobile sports betting into consideration. The proponents of the measure believe that the mobile sports betting expansion would help the struggling state compensate for the $6-billion budget hole.

However, some reformed problem gamblers have shared fears that the legalization of mobile sports betting could lure local children to gambling from an early age. They agree that such an addition to New York’s gambling sector would be a good idea when it comes to making more money for state coffers but they are not sure such a step would be morally right.

In 2019, mobile sports betting did not manage to make it through the state Legislature. However, as mentioned above, there is a $6-billion budget hole that local lawmakers have been trying to fill. According to proponents of mobile gambling among them, this shortfall could become one of the main reasons for the possible legalization of online sports betting in 2020.

During the 2019 legislative session, a bill seeking to make mobile sports betting legal in the state was given the green light in the New York Senate. However, the Assembly decided not to take it up for a vote.

Mobile Sports Betting Proponents Still Unsure about Governor Cuomo’s Position on the Measure

As revealed by the above-mentioned piece of legislation’s sponsor Joseph Addabbo Jr., last week, the bill was redirected to the Finance Committee of the Senate. Mr. Addabbo recently took part in the legal counsel of Governor Andrew Cuomo in regard to the bill. He shared his hope that New York’s Governor will include the legalization of mobile sports betting in the state’s executive budget later in January.

According to the bill’s sponsor, state lawmakers need to address the budget deficit and take into consideration the fresh revenue that could be brought to the state with the official permission of mobile sports betting. He highlighted the fact that, currently, many residents of New York travel to the state of New Jersey to place online sports bets and the legalization of the practice could keep the money within the state.

What is found concerning by some proponents of the measure, is the fact that, for the time being, it is still not clear whether the Governor backs the online sports betting legalization or not. Cuomo has not revealed his position, and his office has refused to comment on his opinion on the proposed mobile sports betting. Previously, Governor Cuomo had shared some concerns regarding the legalization.

According to Gary Pretlow, who was the sponsor of the bill in the Assembly, New York Governor could be the biggest hurdle for the measure to move forward in the Legislature. On the other hand, the number of gambling addicts, who have been seeking help to deal with their compulsive gambling, has increased. An internal report has shown that the number of state’s addiction helpline calls related to sports betting jumped from 1-5% rate before 2018 to almost 11% after sports betting was legalized in New York.