Gambling free bets no deposit bonus. With New York facing a $15 billion budget shortfall from the coronavirus pandemic, online sports betting is viewed as one possible way to inject much-needed money into the state. New Jersey legalized online wagers in 2018, and earlier this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo included an online professional sports betting plan in his executive budget proposal that he claimed would raise $500 million in revenue for the state.
But many logistical hurdles remain. Cuomo’s proposal for legalization runs counter to what the Democratic supermajority in the state legislature is pitching. Some authorities are questioning the legality of the whole enterprise. And there are lingering concerns about gambling and addiction, particularly with the number of people sequestered at home and the opportunities that could be suddenly available to lose significant amounts of cash.
As you can see, the current New York sports betting law is relatively limited. You can only wager in person, and you can only wager at four commercial casinos in the state. Fortunately, there is. No Syracuse sports bets: New York bars wagers on in-state schools. That makes New York the 14th state to legalize some form of sports betting. Thirteen states have done so since a May 2018 U.S.
“I don’t see the governor’s proposal as workable in New York,” said Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, the chairman of the Committee on Racing and Wagering.
Right now, you can place horse racing bets on your smartphone through an app run by the not-for-profit corporation that oversees horse racing in New York’s three major tracks. Mobile betting for professional sports could theoretically function in a similar way. Currently, the servers for horse betting are located at the racetracks.
In both Cuomo and the legislature's proposals, the servers for mobile sports betting would be situated at places where bets are already taken, like casinos. The major overriding question is how many operators, or “skins,” as they are called in the industry, there will be, and who will get to profit.
Under Cuomo’s proposal, which still needs to be fleshed out further, the New York State Gaming Commission would be directed to solicit bids for a small number of mobile sports wagering operators. The system would be akin to how the state-run lottery functions, with possibly only one or a small number of operators overseeing sports betting. A single operator runs online sports betting in New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. Overall, sports betting is now legal in more than two dozen states.
Robert Mujica, Cuomo’s budget director, said earlier this month that the advantage of the state proposal would be the ability to maximize tax revenue. “The fundamental question is: if you want to support the bottom line for casinos or New York’s students. And the governor’s proposal chooses students,” Mujica told the Wall Street Journal. (An identical statement was sent to Gothamist from Freeman Klopott, a budget spokesman for Cuomo.)
It’s not clear yet what Cuomo’s tax rate would be for his online betting model, though Mujica has asserted that it would be enough to raise $500 million a year. The state legislative proposal, co-sponsored by Pretlow and the chairman of the State Senate’s Racing and Wagering Committee, Joseph Addabbo, puts the number closer to $100 million annually.
At first glance, that would seem to make Cuomo’s proposal the better one, given the potential for serious state budget cuts without new forms of revenue. But lawmakers and some gambling industry insiders aren’t so sure. In New Jersey, which is generally viewed as a success given the number of people who place bets, there are as many as 17 legal online sportsbooks.
New York’s legislature is looking to take a similar approach, believing their proposal has a better opportunity for growth—more operators can lead to more options for consumers and more interest in placing bets. Addabbo calls his legislation “inclusive,” because it would also allow for Native American casinos, casinos on state property, and off-track betting sites to participate.
“Competition bodes better for our residents and will drive up revenues than being a narrow state-run lottery kind of system,” Addabbo argued. “New York finds itself in a very odd position not being a leader. We are outside looking in. New York right now is a three-wheeled car limping along in the right lane. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are speeding by us.”
Bennett Liebman is a government lawyer in residence at Albany Law School who previously advised Cuomo as the deputy secretary for Gaming and Racing. He said the difference between the two models is a question of what is being prioritized: more tax revenue, or a better model, long-term, for consumers and gambling interests?
“It all depends on what you want in your market. If you want what the governor is seeking, which the draft is very general, you are looking for maximum tax revenue, you will give it to one or two groups and you are going to tax them at a very high rate,” Liebman said. “If you are looking to create a robust market to help out casinos and consumers, then you go with, or you are more inclined to go with, the legislative plan.”
Liebman called the Cuomo administration’s $500 million revenue figure for online sports betting “very, very high,” and predicted a few operators would dominate the space in New York, like DraftKings and FanDuel have done in New Jersey. Casinos, racetracks, and online gambling in total generated a little more than $300 million in tax revenue for New Jersey in 2020.
Even if New York reached Cuomo’s projections—let alone the far smaller figure from the state legislature—online sports betting would represent only a minuscule fraction of a state budget that was $177 billion last year. One question hanging over the debate is whether the united front fighting for mobile sports betting in New York—the currently existing casinos, and operators like DraftKings and FanDuel—would crumble if only a small number of them were selected to make money from sports betting.
According to a constitutional amendment passed in 2013, sports wagering in New York is currently allowed only in physical portions of its four existing commercial casinos and other facilities operated by Indian tribes. Cuomo and supporters of online sports betting believe their proposal will meet the requirements of the state constitution by locating the servers for the betting websites at the physical casinos.
Neil Murray, an Albany attorney who has sued to oppose gambling in the state, said there was a “legitimate, serious question” about the constitutionality of online sports betting.
“The problem right now is the constitutional amendment that was passed several years ago does carve out exceptions for gambling at casinos. The operative word is ‘at’ and what does that mean?”
Murray argued the way the amendment was proposed—an economic stimulus for destination casinos that would prevent the proliferation of gambling statewide—contradicts the arguments made for mobile sports betting today. “If you allow online gambling and people can gamble from their living rooms, then of course that destroys the whole purpose on which gambling was authorized on a limited basis to begin with,” he said. “Everybody is counting on collective amnesia.”
Pretlow, the state assemblyman, contended that his bill met the requirements of the state constitution but Cuomo’s would not if it chose to operate like the state lottery. The lottery is regarded as a game of pure chance with no skill involved, allowing it to circumvent a longtime prohibition on gambling in the state.
“The lottery has to be 100 percent chance. The lottery is not gambling,” Pretlow said. “It’s flip a coin, heads or tails, nothing in the middle. I think if the lottery were to handle sports betting, it would lead to a constitutional question.”
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