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New York Online Sports Betting Legislation Still Has Life

November 9, 2020

Throughout the U.S., states that permit online sports and casino wagering are experiencing an impressive influx of tax revenue from online gambling operators. States like New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Michigan are reporting outstanding gambling revenue numbers from both sports betting and online gambling operations.

For a struggling state like New York, there is a growing need to find other sources of tax revenue to mediate growing financial problems. According to New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens), online sports gambling is getting another look for that very reason.

It's important to note that neighboring states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars off the gambling efforts on New Yorkers. It's quite easy for New York sports gambling enthusiasts to cross state borders to place their wagers and then return home.

In regards to the state not going after such a lucrative source of much-needed revenue, Addabbo stated: “We can’t decline revenue. We don’t have the luxury.”

The good news for New York gamblers is the current legislature has shown an interest in taking another look at Senate Bill 17D. As chairman of the Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, Addabbo is doing all he can to keep this bill alive. He is quick to point out that while the state is facing deep spending cuts in healthcare and education, this could be a good way to save jobs.

It's worth noting that while retail sports betting is available only at upstate New York commercial casinos and tribal gaming properties, online gambling legislation has gone largely ignored.

At first, Governor Andrew Cuomo made clear it was unlikely that he would sign such legislation over a variety of concerns and issues. Heading into this year, the legislature was looking forward to reintroducing the bill in time for this year's election. However, other important issues arose like COVID-19, social injustice issues, employment, and unemployment.

As things begin to settle down, it will be interesting to see if Governor Cuomo is willing to set aside his concerns. Previously, he used the argument of unconstitutionality as to the basis for throwing cold water on this hot topic. He was referring to concerns over the DOJ reversing its decision related to the Wire Act of 1963. That law currently makes it illegal to use a money-wiring system to fund sports betting accounts or payoff sports betting debts.


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