Is 2020 the year mobile betting passes?

Group behind successful lawsuit against daily fantasy sports said they will sue NYS again if mobile betting passes

Mike Baggerman
February 12, 2020 - 3:00 am
Sports Lounge at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. January 30, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Sports Lounge at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. January 30, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The state senator who is pushing for New York State to legalize mobile sports betting is optimistic that 2020 is the year that it can pass through the legislature.

Queens democrat Joseph Addabbo, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering, said the dire need of revenue is one of the main reasons why 2020 will be a better year for legislation to pass.

"We have a severe deficit in this year's budget and the picture doesn't get better fiscally next year. I've been through these tough budgets...These large deficits you don't cut your way out. You need revenue. Here it is. It's not assumed revenue, it's guaranteed revenue when we do mobile sports betting."

Sports gambling at upstate casinos is legal. Bettors can place a wager by visiting any upstate casino in person. However, no gambling can be done outside of a casino.

Mobile betting would allow anyone to place a bet from anywhere in the state at a casino. Addabbo said there is no need to amend the New York State constitution because servers would be placed inside the casinos where the mobile bets would be placed.

Seneca Casinos declined to comment on mobile betting in New York State when contacted yesterday. Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Jr. previously told WBEN last May that mobile sports betting is the most profitable aspect of sports gambling and would embrace it.

"(Mobile betting is) where the money's at," Armstrong said last year.

Sports gambling in New York State took a hit last week when a state appellate court ruled that daily fantasy contests like FanDuel and DraftKings are a violation of the constitutional prohibition on gambling because it is a game of skill and not a game of chance. Part of the reason why it failed was because of a lawsuit filed by the Washington D.C.-based group called "Stop Predatory Gambling", who wants to stop government from pushing gambling into homes and communities. 

"In addition to losing $1 trillion over the next eight years, 60 percent of citizens don't have $1,000 in the bank in savings," National Director Les Bernal said. "You have state government on every corner...now trying to bring mobile gambling right into your home, so you don't have to go out the door. They're pushing people into deeper debt and trapping people in poverty. The role of state governments like New York should be to build people up and families up, expand the middle class, and government-sanctioned gambling is a big part of the problem in our country."

Bernal said their organization will sue New York State again if they pass mobile betting.

Addabbo said he's not worried about last Thursday's ruling potentially serving as a warning about sports gambling's future because daily fantasy sports are different than mobile betting and because there is already sports gambling in New York.

"We got one toe in the pool but you're not doing it properly," Addabbo said. "If you're going to be Excelsior. If you're going to be New York State and pride yourself on being out in front of every other state, then let's do gaming right. Let's maximize revenue. Let's maximize educational funding, job potential, and address the issue. And let's get this thing done."

Addabbo said that mobile betting should be in the New York State budget. He said New York made only $780,000 in revenues from sports betting in December while New Jersey made upwards of $25 million.

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