Last-minute efforts to pass online betting in New York failed this week, leaving lawmakers from both sides of the aisle pointing fingers.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr, who has spearheaded betting efforts in New York, is blaming Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration.
Sen. Addabbo believes that Gov. Cuomo’s administration has been slowed by the constitutionality of legalizing sports betting in the state.
“They don’t believe it’s unconstitutional in my opinion,” Addabbo said. “They just don’t want it.”
In the wake of the mobile betting measure failing, Addabbo said that the Governor and Assembly leader, Speaker Carl Heastle, are creating excuses for killing the bill.
Addabbo, with the help of Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, crafted a bill that would have allowed upstate casinos to offer statewide mobile sports betting.
The casinos would partner with racetracks, off-track betting parlors and professional sports arenas to offer live betting.
As the bill gained support, Gov. Cuomo pushed back on the bill claiming it violated the state’s constitution.
What’s strange about the collapse of the Addabbo-Pretlow bill is that it had overwhelming support in the state Senate.
Addabbo’s chamber approved the bill by a vote of 57-5, while the Assembly signaled that there were more than enough members ready to vote “yes” on the measure.
The problem in the Assembly is that Speaker Heastle believed that Gov. Cuomo would stay true to his objections and veto the bill.
Heastle’s reasoning failed to pass muster with Sen. Addabbo who called the move “a cop out.”
“Tell us you’re not going to bring it to the floor because you’re philosophically against it,” Addabbo said.
“Don’t tell us you’re not going to put it on the floor because the governor won’t sign it. That’s not our role.”
According to Sen. Addabbo, the governor’s anticipated reaction should not dictate the actions of the Assembly and Senate.
“To me, the whole ideology not to pass in the Assembly was wrong,” Addabbo said. “Is it our job to put bills to the floor only that the governor will sign?”
“That’s not the role of the legislature. The legislature legislates. You pass it and let the governor make a decision.”
Addabbo argues that if the constitutionality is really the issue then Gov. Cuomo should allow the courts to make the ultimate decision.
The senator believes that by forcing a veto from Gov. Cuomo, then the Assembly and Senate would get the explanation that they deserved.
The state’s next legislative session begins in January and Addabbo and co-sponsor Assemblyman Gary Pretlow are planning to visit with Gov. Cuomo to discuss the legislation.
“I’m going to set up a meeting with the governor’s office sometime between now and then to try to hash this out and find out what his real objection is,” Pretlow said.
“The first objection is never the real one. I just want to hear what the governor has to say.”
If the measure is forced to go through a constitutional amendment process, then New York residents would have to wait three years before betting could be legalized.
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