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NY Mobile Sports Betting Chances In Assembly Are Slim To None

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The odds are not in New York’s favor.

The New York mobile sports betting bill has stalled in the state Assembly as top Democrats disagree over whether an amendment to the state constitution is needed to pass the pending legislation.

The legislative session ends Wednesday, June 19, and the issue is unlikely to be resolved before the deadline, the New York Post reports.

“There’s road block in the [state] Assembly,” Assembly sponsor Gary Pretlow told The Post. “It can’t move. The leadership is stuck on the constitutional question.”

The state Senate overwhelmingly passed S 17D on Monday on a 57-5 vote, sending the legislation down to the lower chamber two days before the session ends.

If the bill passes two committees — the Rules Committee is up first — only then could it head to the Assembly floor for a vote.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who must call for a vote on the bill before it can pass, appears to be the biggest obstacle standing in the way of mobile sports betting coming to New York.

Heastie has reportedly sided with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s long-held stance that the legislature needs to amend the state constitution before mobile wagering would be allowed, a process that would take three years since approval from two consecutive sessions and a majority of voter approval from a ballot measure is required.

“I’ve been trying to convince them that is totally untrue,” Pretlow said, disagreeing with their shared interpretation. Pretlow added that he spoke with Heastie last week on the issue and told him he has enough votes to pass the bill.

A simple majority is all that is needed to pass the legislation in the 150-member Assembly, so Pretlow said he has 76 Democrats who support the passage of the mobile sports betting bill.

In 2013, the legislature voted in favor of allowing in-person sports betting at four upstate casinos, and tribal casinos should the Supreme Court ever overturn PASPA, a federal law that prevented states outside Nevada from offering sports betting.

The federal law was struck down over 13 months ago, and the New York State Gaming Commission approved rules last week that will allow people in the state to bet on professional sports before the start of the 2019 NFL season.

The four upstate casinos eligible for sportsbooks are:

  • del Lago Resort & Casino
  • Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady
  • Resorts World Catskills
  • Tioga Downs Casino Resort

Joe Addabbo, who is the Senate sponsor and chair of the Senate Gaming and Wagering Committee, said Monday he feels two days is enough time to pass and is hopeful the Assembly will send it to Cuomo’s desk.

“We’re giving them a framework that includes everybody, we’re not recreating the wheel,” Addabbo said. “I’m the eternal optimist. I still have two days.”

Not passing the mobile wagering bill would be a significant blow to the sports betting market in New York, but good news for neighboring New Jersey, who has taken in $2.5 billion in the past year and is catching up to the long-established market in Nevada.

New Yorkers — after crossing the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River — have already bet millions of dollars from mobile devices in the Garden State, according to estimates. That figure will likely continue to skyrocket if three years is the earliest the Empire State will see bets on sports from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

The legislative session ends Wednesday, but mobile sports betting may have already slipped through Lady Liberty’s fingers.

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