Featured in this article:
  • New York Passed a Budget Deadline Without Agreement
  • Expanded Gambling Continues to be Negotiated
  • A Compromise May Exclude Residents from Online Sports Betting

3 Minute Read

New Yorkers can stay in Manhattan and place wagers on their phones. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

With a Thursday deadline for agreeing to New York gambling expansion passed, lawmakers continue to negotiate. Despite Democrats controlling all three levers of the process, consensus remains elusive. Governor Andrew Cuomo started an earthquake in the gaming industry by supporting online sports betting earlier this year.

Like a great March Madness game, New York may need a buzzer-beater to expand gambling in 2021.

Cuomo Scandals Impact New York Gambling Expansion

When he announced his support for online wagering, Cuomo was one of the most powerful governors in the country. Since then, he has been rocked by scandals, corruption allegations, and investigations. Through his adamant refusals to resign, the governor has continued his support for routing online sports bets through the state lottery.

new york governor andrew cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

A longtime opponent of expanded gambling in NY, Gov. Cuomo’s support should have made this a smooth process. However, the lottery model he advocates is only employed in small states such as Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

Compromise Over Sports Betting Model Emerges

The Governor’s preferred model differs from other large neighboring states, like Pennsylvania and New Jersey. There, online sports betting licenses are sold, and operators pay a tax on revenues. It is less controlled than Cuomo’s preferred model, but much more user friendly. Companies and apps compete for bettors through promotions and bonuses.

But the governor believes his model could bring in $500 million in yearly funds for the state. That figure seems outlandish. After an initial licensing boost, $50-$100 million in additional annual revenue is more likely.

In an attempt to get the sports betting ball across the finish-line, state Senator Joe Addabbo has offered a compromise. A vital figure in past attempts to expand gambling in the Empire State, Addabbo wants to create a trial run.

sports betting scores at buffalo wild wings

Sports betting game scores.

Temporarily following Governor Cuomo’s model would allow data collection during the all-important fall football season. Then, parties could re-engage on how to proceed permanently.

Tribal Compacts Imperil Gambling Expansion

However, Friday morning a new issue emerged that could blow up New York’s gambling expansion. The compromise model may exclude Native American tribes from offering sports betting. Some New York Tribes retain exclusive rights to host and operate gaming within their designated territory.

A compact between a tribe and New York grants exclusivity by county. The Oneida Indian Nation retains this gambling control over parts of upstate. This includes the cities of Syracuse and Utica. Unless another deal is negotiated, over a million New Yorkers could be locked out of online and mobile betting.

Geofencing technology makes this possible, but is it desirable? And would lawmakers really exclude up to a million constituents from this plan? One thing is certain, it will be a busy holiday weekend in Albany.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro GambleOnline.co about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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