Cuomo refuses to include mobile sports betting in New York state budget

New York State Budget

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has rejected calls to include mobile sports betting in the state’s 2021 budget. 

A long-standing opposer of legalising digital wagering here, Cuomo has also opted against issuing licences to three downtown casinos.

These both come in spite of the Empire State battling to reduce a budget deficit of $6.1 billion. 

Thoughts were made clear 

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. has told the iGaming media that his negotiators proposed the introduction of mobile wagering for the state budget, in addition to the three casino permits. But when these ideas were put forward, they were met with a stern “no”. 

Addabbo Jr. also argued that considering cuts being made to essential services in New York, the decision was an odd one. His thoughts were as follows. 

“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. “Unbelievable. Totally irresponsible.”  

New York facing testing times financially 

The state’s current budget deficit is the worst since 2010, when this figure was at $10 billion. New York City has been placed into lockdown to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), meaning that most businesses have shut their doors for now. As such, it’s likely that this will have an impact on the local economy. 

Going into next year, the Governor has warned that the pandemic could cost the state $15 billion in revenue. Part of this would be due to lower tax revenues while the state will also have to dig deeper in a bid to tackle the ongoing situation. 

New revenue sources are a necessity to close this gap, which is something that Addabbo Jr noted. On this topic, he said the below. 

“We should be exploring both mobile and the three licenses given that the need for current and future revenue is evident.”

Addabbo Jr. vows to keep pushing for legal mobile sports betting 

While his efforts will probably be futile, the Senator plans to keep pushing for the inclusion of digital wagering in the state budget. 

In a regular year, both of New York’s legislative chambers would propose their own budget proposals in mid-March. Then, after discussing them with the Governor, the final budget is signed off on 1st April. Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Petlow had planned to add their suggestions, as part of the original schedule.   

But this year, due to coronavirus-related concerns, the chambers’ proposals have been skipped and negotiations went straight to Cuomo’s office. The budget is expected to be ready by the end of this week. 

Even if he is unsuccessful this time around, he thinks that mobile betting will make it to New York eventually. 

“All the governor and the speaker are doing is delaying the inevitable because mobile sports betting in New York is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ and we need the revenue now.”