No one would question the key role state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. has played in getting New York sports betting apps this close to reality.
And now, the St. John’s grad who represents the 15th District,wants betting in the Empire State to grow beyond that upcoming major milestone.
Once New York Online Sports Betting is officially launched and operational, Addabbo would like to see expansion in other areas.
Raising the Bar on Horse Racing Bets
A big step forward, in Addabbo’s eyes, would be the passage of Senate Bill S7536, which is currently with the Rules Committee. The bill favors wagers on certain horse racing events and authorizes agreements between a mobile sports wagering operator and an affiliate.
Addabbo, chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, hopes the nine sports betting operators that were granted licenses can take horse racing wagers on their individual mobile applications.
Nine operators were selected by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) on Nov. 8 of last year.
That group includes FanDuel NY, DraftKings NY, BetMGM NY, Rush Street Interactive (parent company of BetRivers), Caesars, WynnBET NY, Resorts World, PointsBet and Bally Bet.
There is a similar bill, A8538, in the state Assembly.
Addabbo also wants to bring iGaming to the state.
“It all starts with a conversation and a starting point. It’s not if it is going to happen, it’s when it will happen,” Addabbo said in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “This state is playing catch up with all of these other states that have all of these things in place on the gaming front. Our state definitely needs revenue. We can’t always go to Washington, D.C. for things like this.”
Governor’s Approach Draws Praise
The state senator praises the state’s governor as a champion of change.
“Governor Kathy Hochul has been absolutely a breath of fresh air with more openness and professionalism on gaming and non-gaming issues since she took office,” Addabbo said. “At least, we can have a dialogue on all of these things we are considering on the gaming front, whether it be on expansion of wagering, jobs in the gaming sector, funding for gambling addiction programs, etc.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Hochul delivered her first state-of-the-state address in Albany but did not mention the upcoming launch of mobile sports betting.
“We have to see what the governor will be introducing in her executive budget sometime in mid-January and then we can go forward with the bills proposed and have initial budgetary negotiations,” Addabbo said. “It’s a starting point.”
But What About Mobile Sports Betting?
Unless there is an unexpected and dramatic roadblock, Addabbo said he thinks New York residents will be choosing from among the numerous app possibilities in the weeks to come.
“We’re getting close,” he said.
The state first needs to have mobile servers installed at one of the four retail upstate casinos before an official launch date. There also will be a soft launch period to check for any bugs in the operation.
The four commercial upstate casinos are Tioga Downs in Nichols, Rivers Casino in Schenectady, Del Lago Casino in Waterloo and Resorts World Catskills in Monticello.
“This is not something where you open a laptop and immediate access is given,” Addabbo said. “The servers are rather large and you have to either create or renovate a physical site or space for them to be installed.
”However, I do believe we are closer to that happening sooner than later and I have to give a lot of credit to the New York State Gaming Commission. Amidst the current situation with COVID-19 and the rather quick changing over to a new Governor’s administration, we are actually slightly ahead of schedule. They have done a tremendous job.”
If Not Playoffs, Then Super Bowl
Addabbo would like to see the operation ready for the NFL playoffs, which start in 10 days. But he repeatedly has said he expects to see mobile sports betting live and operational before the Super Bowl, which will be played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on Feb. 13
“Obviously, we would like for it to happen before the Super Bowl,” Addabbo said, “and we would have to go through some kind of testing/launch period where we can work out glitches, technical issues, etc. for such a large population all trying to get on at once. We will do that to make sure it goes off without any major hitches or problems.”