Governor Cuomo And State Lawmakers Battle Over Mobile Sports Betting

  • Governor Cuomo is firmly against mobile sports betting expansion.
  • State senator Addabbo says that a constitutional amendment is not needed.
  • New York law firms agree that no constitutional amendment is not needed.

NEW YORK – Governor Andrew Cuomo has stated on Monday that he is not in favor of mobile sports betting.

Cuomo has doubled down on his position against mobile sports betting in a roundtable with WAMC. Cuomo doesn’t believe that the potential fiscal impact for sports betting is worth it for New York.

“They [New Jersey] raised something like $13 million dollars [on sports betting] – $13 million dollars is a rounding error in our state. So I don’t even think the economic benefit is there,” said Cuomo.

This fact is echoed by the fact that Governor Cuomo has completely left sports betting out of his proposed financial budget.

This doesn’t mean that Governor Cuomo is completely against sports betting. He is in favor of the sportsbooks that are going to open upstate. Cuomo said that the new sportsbooks will help a part of the state where there isn’t too much economic development. He also stated that it will create high-paying jobs for residents in upstate New York.

The Amendment Debate

Governor Cuomo has made his position very clear on how he feels about any expansion of any gambling. He has said that he and his budget director believe that a constitutional amendment is needed to authorize online mobile betting. This would take three years and require a statewide referendum to accomplish.

Lawmakers are not standing for that position. Senator Joseph Addabbo has constantly rebuked the governor’s position about needing a constitutional amendment to authorize mobile sports betting. Now he has other opinions backing his idea.

New York Law Firms Weigh In

A good number of law firms including Gibson Dunn & Crutcher has stated that there does not need to be a constitutional amendment to authorize mobile sports betting. There are two main reasons why Gibson Dunn believes a constitutional amendment is unnecessary.

The first reason is that mobile sports wagering fits under the “casino gambling” umbrella. Casino gambling can be legalized and regulated by state lawmakers thanks to the constitution.

The second reason is because of where online sports betting occurs. Online and mobile sports betting happens within the confines of a server. If that server is physically located within a location that has legal sportsbooks, then sports bets are happening at a casino facility.

This gives lawmakers like Addabbo the ammo they need to combat the governor’s opinion on the issue.

“It’s a hurdle we can easily jump over. We have a number of independent law firms that have written briefs on how it would be constitutional. If we take a broad-but-correct interpretation of our current constitution, we can do sports betting in the four casinos with a mobile component,” said Addabbo.

The opinions from the law firms will help Addabbo and other lawmakers push for expanding sports betting in New York into the mobile space. Addabbo now has no reason to back down on this issue and he will push for mobile sports betting in New York.

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