Cuomo Optimistic but Uncompromising on NY Mobile Betting

Cuomo Optimistic but Uncompromising on NY Mobile Betting
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Derek Helling for Bookies.com

By Derek Helling | | 2 mins

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has recently shared an optimistic view of the timeline for the potential legalization of online sports betting in the Empire State, but it doesn’t seem he is ready to back off his stance that has been part of the delay in doing exactly that.

Cuomo said in a radio interview that mobile sports betting could be legalized before the end of the current legislative term, which is June.

No Amendment Necessary?

This is a departure from his previous hardline stance that legalizing mobile sports betting would require an amendment to the state’s constitution. The solution to this quandary has been clear but difficult to negotiate.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo has stated that he believes mobile bets could legally be placed in New York without amending the constitution as long as the servers running the sites the bets are placed on are physically located at one of the state’s four casinos.

Prominent attorney Daniel Wallach agrees with Addabbo, also stating that a constitutional amendment isn’t necessary. The state’s racetracks act as proof of concept, as they have been accepting mobile bets on their servers physically located at the tracks for years.

Despite Cuomo’s expressed optimism about a timeline, a spokesperson for his administration made it clear that his concerns about constitutional issues haven’t been removed.

He did state during the interview that he saw sports betting as one of the priorities he hopes the legislature addresses prior to adjournment for the summer, but did not denote which of the matters like rent controls or sports betting should take precedence over the others.

It was clear that he was putting the onus for movement on mobile betting back on the legislature.

That’s where a divide between Cuomo’s constitutional stance and timeline optimism appears. In order to get the current law updated before the end of June, lawmakers will need assistance, not ambivalence from the Governor’s office.

With such little time remaining, Cuomo’s aid in appeasing interested parties like the state’s four casinos could greatly speed up the process of enacting legislation.

Only Time Will Tell

Questions beg to be asked: if Cuomo still believes that a constitutional amendment is required to legalize mobile betting and that process can take years, what does he expect the legislature to do on the issue in a month’s time?

Also, what incentive is there for lawmakers to work through the 11th hour on the issue if they aren’t confident Cuomo won’t veto whatever measure they send to his desk?

The fact that the roadblock still exists is confirmed by Addabbo when he spoke about his most recent conversation with Cuomo, insisting the governor and he were still not on the same page.

In order for Cuomo’s statement to prove true, that mobile betting could be authorized before the end of the session, it’s necessary for Cuomo to do all he can to expedite that process.

If he digs his feet in now, the process will stall into the next session. The optimism he shared may be a sign of a willingness to do that.