New York Mobile Betting Stalled: Negotiations Are Still On-Going

By  //  April 8, 2021

Since last year, many have been hopeful that New York will finally have online or mobile betting by this year. When 2021 came in, more people became more hopeful as NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has finally agreed to look into legalizing mobile betting in the states.

He seemed to have always opposed the push for this since in-person betting was rolled out.

With that, people are hoping to be betting on NFL, March Madness, and many other sports events this year on their mobile devices. However, recent news suggests that mobile betting may not be an option for this year.

The discussions regarding the legislation of mobile betting were intense that it bypassed the April 1 deadline. However, the New York leaders have failed to pass a timely budget for the second consecutive year. The negotiations could continue into the Easter weekend and this isn’t exactly something unusual for the lawmakers, especially when state budgets are expected to be completed.

Mobile Sports Betting and Negotiations with The Tribes

Cuomo and the New York legislatures have been going over an agreeable language and terms for mobile sports betting to be included in the final budget for the fiscal year of 2022. However, there is a potential dispute between the government and the tribal casinos regarding mobile betting. Tribal casinos owned by the Oneida Indian Nation are the ones who may complicate the negotiations.

This is because a 2013 agreement between the tribal casinos and the NY government states that online and retail casinos will be exclusive to the tribes. This is applicable in 10 counties in Central New York including Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison, Onondaga, Oneida, Oswego, and Otsego.

According to two legislative bills, the tribes can opt into the state’s mobile sports betting scheme. They can do this by placing a tribal mobile server within the state’s commercial casinos. However, the proposed bill for mobile betting authored by Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. is saying that the state will be able to issue 14 mobile sports betting skins of platforms statewide. This is something that will be in favor of multiple bookies.

With that, the tribes could be cut out. However, Senator Joseph Griffo and a bipartisan group of legislative leaders from Central NY spoke about this and warned the state about the possible effects of excluding tribal casinos in sports betting.

The statement that they released said that doing so will compromise the overall sports betting industry. This may result in an annual loss of 70 million US dollars in settlement payments per year. Senator Griffo took his concerns to Twitter and said:

“As the debate continues over online sports betting in New York, I am calling on the legislature and Governor to not pass a mobile sports provision as part of the budget that would cut out major parts of Upstate New York by not including tribal nations in the final bill.

“If the budget proposal were to be enacted, anyone living in almost a dozen upstate counties would be prohibited from participating in mobile sports betting,” he added.

The tribe is still willing to negotiate but what they are putting on the table is that the Oneida Nation will be willing to waive the exclusivity zones for mobile betting if they will be allowed to offer such services in the whole state of New York.

Senator Addabbo’s Proposed Bill

Also, Addabo’s proposed bill is still in contrast with Cuomo’s state-run model. Governor Cuomo wants to run online sports betting like how the state is already running the lottery. The governor’s model resembles the sports betting model of New Hampshire. In NH, DraftKings oversees the state’s lottery and mobile betting. There are no competitions.

Addabbo recently commented on the latest updates and said, “We have asked the governor’s office for some detail of his proposal and we would love to have some kind of hybrid between both houses and the governor once we see details of his proposal. That has not happened.

“You can’t negotiate with yourself, right? We are being asked to agree to a proposal without seeing any of the details of his plan. Negotiations are still going on and anything can happen at any time, but right now, I see this as a 50-50 chance.

“We have done everything that we could do to add mobile sports betting to this budget. We have been transparent. We delivered an 18-page document full of detail and we have bipartisan approval in both the Senate and the Assembly.

“If it doesn’t go through, it certainly isn’t because of us. The people in this state want this to happen. Bigger picture, it provides so much more in revenue, job and business opportunities and it keeps the money in-state, instead of going to our neighbors across state lines.”

June 10 is the last date of the legislature and this will also be the next deadline. If no deal will be settled by then, local NY punters will have to wait longer. Senator Addabbo remains motivated and said, “The opportunity is now. Like I said we are still negotiating and I’ve always said this could go right down to the last second of the deadline.”