Even though New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has stated that sports betting does not rank in his top ten list of priorities, he admitted that wagering could be legal next month.
The Governor’s administration is advancing a proposal that would bring sports betting in person to four upstate casinos and to all Indian-owned facilities including those of Seneca nation.
Gov. Cuomo went on the WAMC radio to discuss the end of the legislative session and when asked about sports betting, he did not shut the door completely on legal wagering.
“It’s possible,” Cuomo said on Alan Chartock’s show.
“I think the time is short and the list is long, so I would counsel the legislative leaders to get the priorities done, because these priorities are not easy.”
With less than two weeks to get a measure passed before the current session ends, the pressure is on New York legislators to agree on a bill.
After Supreme Court issued their ruling that sports betting is legal in all 50 states last year, New York Governor said that a wagering amendment for the state would need approval from voters.
So for Gov. Cuomo to say that sports betting in the state was “possible” could mean that the administration has changed their opinion.
In response to this possibility, Cuomo’s staff has swatted down rumors that the Governor has changed his stance.
Richard Azzopardi, an adviser to Gov. Cuomo, said, “Our position on constitutional concerns has not changed, but we remain in discussions with the Legislature.”
In the state’s constitution, any expansion of betting in New York first has to be approved by voters.
And until recently Gov. Cuomo has stated that voters will be the ultimate judge, but not all legislators feel the same about the possible constitutional issue.
Legislators like Sen. Joseph Addabbo is one of the leaders claiming that the state doesn’t need to take the measure to voters to approve online betting in New York.
Sen. Addabbo believes that as long as the servers that handle the online betting are in the physical casinos, then there is no need for a lengthy and costly referendum for voters.
Under Addabbo’s proposal, bettors would have to go to the physical location of the casino and provide identification plus register for a betting account.
Gov. Cuomo’s statement that sports betting could happen soon has given lawmakers a boost in their pursuit to get a deal.
With hundreds of millions in betting revenue pouring into New Jersey each month, New York continues to get pressure to pass a sports betting bill.
“New York is losing tens of millions of dollars right now, and the money (with a sports betting bill) is going to education,” said Gary Pretlow, the bill’s Assembly sponsor.
“(So) everyone should be excited about doing this.”
Even though Cuomo has offered a glimmer of hope, not everyone is sure that the Governor has turned completely around.
“The last conversation I had with the governor’s office was last week, and we were still not on the same page,” said Addabbo.
Any sports betting legislation in New York has less than two weeks to pass before the current legislative session ends.
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