Is Now the Time for Mobile Betting in New York?

With New York State facing a $6 billion budget deficit and its tax-paying gaming industry shut down, proponents of internet sports betting like state Senator Joseph Addabbo (l., with Governor Andrew Cuomo) believe the chances of legalization look better than ever.

A new survey shows that 61 percent of New Yorkers support legalizing remote sports betting in the state.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, the Queens Democrat whose push for legalization has been repeatedly rebuffed in the Legislature, said he plans to use the poll’s results to argue for including remote wagering in the state budget for the next fiscal year.

With more than 3,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus late last week and at least 20 deaths, New York has been especially hard hit by the contagion. The state also is facing a projected $6.1 billion shortfall in the 2021 budget, and with taxpaying land-based gaming in disaster mode in the wake of last week’s closure order by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Addabbo may finally have the silver bullet he’s lacked up to now.

“Given the fact that the sports betting industry is growing rapidly, along with our current budget’s need for revenue and educational funding, the time is now,” he said.

The survey was commissioned by DFS giants DraftKings and FanDuel, both of which now found themselves on the outs in New York after last month’s state Supreme Court decision upholding a 2016 ruling that the legislature overstepped its authority in legalizing daily fantasy sports without an amendment to the state Constitution.

The poll indicates that 62 percent of voters surveyed disagree with that decision compared to 24 percent who agree.

Not surprisingly, it also found the strongest support for remote wagering, which would include phone betting, among men younger than 50. Significantly, though it scored almost as high across the demographic spectrum, garnering pro sentiments in the range of 66 to 71 percent from Latinos, college-educated white voters and women of color.

It also showed that 44 percent prefer legalization in the Legislature as opposed to 30 percent who want a constitutional amendment, the position held by the governor.