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NYS Online Sports Wagering Discussions Hit a Stalemate

New York State lawmakers have faced new challenges regarding the future of the mobile sports betting bill in last Friday’s state budget discussions as the deadline was drawing near. The legislature has found new complications in finalizing the bill as the involvement of tribal gambling properties of Oneida Indian Nation might prove to be more difficult than expected, thus failing to agree on a deal for second year in a row.

Back in 2013, the tribal corporation had an agreement with the state to gain access to 10 local counties in which it can offer online and retail casino solutions. According to language in two current bills – S 1183 in the Senate and A 1257 in the Assembly, this allows the tribe to take part in the state’s mobile sports initiative by placing its own tribal mobile server in a NYS commercial casino.

Potential Harm

However, the tribes could be left out of the sports wagering introduction as several lawmakers from Central New York, headed by Sen. Joseph Griffo stated that this would lead to significant losses. Senator Griffo, along with Marianne Buttenschon and Pamela Hunter have all issued a statement claiming that the exclusion of Oneida Nation from the compromise on online sports wagers could lead to US$70 million in annual losses from settlement payments.

According to the newly-formed alliance of lawmakers, the exclusion of Central New York from the mobile sports introductions might pose a financial risk and lead to millions of dollars in losses for the local counties. Additionally, the group of lawmakers alerted the state’s legislation that such exclusion might be classified as a breach of the settlement.

By the time of 5 p.m. ET on Friday, April 2, 2021, the state’s government has passed only one of 10 bills that form the budget and no additional budget bills were introduced later in the evening. New York Senate Minority Leader Robert Ott believes that the lack of media at the New York Capitol Building has provided more secrecy around the budget discussions and no transparency.

Last week it seemed as the discussion and negotiations have picked up the pace as the state legislature was hesitant between the two proposals. Governor Cuomo’s state-run model with a single or two operators in charge of the mobile sports wagers or Senator Addabbo’s open market solution, however, it seems as the introduction is set to become reality sooner or later.

A Solution to the Budget Deficit

The state of New York has been working towards further revolutionizing its gambling sector for a while now, starting with the legalization of in-person sports wagers in the summer of 2019. Then there was the proposal for expanding sports wagers to the online space. Mr. Addabbo was one of the first to back the change as a way of compensating for the state’s lack of funds accumulating to over US$7 billion budget deficit.

Additional Benefits

Assemblywoman Monica Wallace has also supported the bill allowing legal online sports wagering for the NYS. According to her the additional revenue from online betting can be used as a way to fund local youth sports organizations and programs. Her proposal is to use 5% of the revenue in order to help out children from less fortunate households.