ALBANY– New York is a big loser for not legalizing mobile sports betting — missing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue while wagers on games by Big Apple fans are placed legally in New Jersey or in the illegal market, pro-gambling advocates said Wednesday.
“We can stand by and watch Jersey make money, but some of that is our money,” said state Senator Joe Addabo (D-Queens), the sponsor legislation that would allowing wagering on sporting events on mobile apps.
The Senate Gaming and Wagering Committee, chaired by Addabbo, heard testimony Wednesday from industry leaders, including casino operators, professional sports reps and app developers and pro-betting lawmakers.
“Jersey is doing fantastically right now…I know people that work out of Wall Street [who] are jumping on a PATH train and placing their bets…across the platform to Hoboken and going back to Wall Street,” Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (D-Buffalo) griped.
Many New Yorkers cross the Hudson to legally place their bets on their smart phone in Jersey and then return home.
New Jersey raked in nearly $1 billion dollars last year according to reports.
Under current state law, New Yorkers can bet on sports, but only at four upstate casinos, the closest one two hours away from the city in Monticello..They can’t place a bet on a mobile app and have to physically be in the casino.
New York would hit a home run if it legalized mobile sports bets, said Chris Grove of Sports & Emerging Vertical.
He estimated in three to six years total revenue generated would surpass $1 billion, with 95 percent coming from online bets.
National Basketball Association senior vice president Daniel Spillane endorsed sports betting after decrying the lack of taxation and regulation in the illegal sports betting market.
“The time has come for a different approach that gives sports fans a safe and legal way to wager on sporting events while protecting the integrity of underlying competitions,” he said.
But the NBA wants a piece of the pie, recommending that a 0.25 percent royalty should go to the sports leagues from every bet on their contest.
Addabo said mobile sports betting won’t happen without the support of Gov. Cuomo.
Cuomo’s office has consistently said legalization will require a constitutional change–an arduous process awaiting the swearing in of two consecutive legislatures and a public referendum vote.
“We have constitutional concerns on this issue that we have raised for nearly a year and our position remains the same. We will review the revised bill,” said Cuomo spokesman Jason Conwall.
Addabbo claimed mobile sports bets would be legal by connecting downstate bettors to servers in upstate casinos.
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