While New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has his hands full with the coronavirus, he has been actively working on the state budget. That’s bad news for mobile sports betting, which did not make the latest cut, as per Legal Sports Report, as the governor and state lawmakers appear to still be on opposite sides of the issue.
Back in January, Cuomo revealed his annual budget proposal for the fiscal year 2021. This included a modest expansion of the state’s legal sports betting market, but no provision for mobile sports wagers. The governor has continually pointed out that the only way online wagering would be allowed is if it was enacted through an amendment to the state’s constitution. Many in the legislature, including State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., disagree.
Despite the tepid response from the governor regarding legalization, there were many who believed that there was still time to add mobile betting by April 1, the day the budget must be concluded. Now those hopes are dead, at least for a year.
According to Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, top legal firms had assured them that the constitutionality of the initiative was sound. In addition, state lawmakers hoped to convince the governor that legalizing online gambling would address the state’s $6 billion deficit. With the Covid-19 virus pandemic sweeping across New York, it is expected that this deficit will rise drastically. Legalizing these types of wagers seemed like a ready-made solution for the budget problem. Not to the governor.
“What is so astonishing is that we had a need for revenue before the virus crisis, and we’re still being asked to make cuts to health care,” explained Addabbo. “Unbelievable. Totally irresponsible.”
Despite the setback, lawmakers are not ready to throw in the towel. Addabbo stated that he believes “we need to examine all credible revenue options regardless of any apprehensions. We should be exploring both mobile and the three licenses given that the need for current and future revenue is evident.”
To try to appease the governor, it is expected that some lawmakers will begin the three-year process to create a constitutional amendment that would assure the legality of mobile sports betting.