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Tribal Issues Slow Mobile NY Sports Betting Negotiations In Ongoing Budget Process

It’s five days into April and there’s still no answer on mobile NY sports betting via the state budget, which should have been decided last week.

The New York state budget is days overdue at this point with multiple areas still being negotiated. One of those areas is NY sports betting and whether it will finally make the jump to mobile devices this year.

Details were reportedly coming together on the $200 billion budget late Sunday, according to Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

There’s been more disagreement than originally expected in the sports betting negotiations between Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Assembly, and the Senate. Cuomo is in favor of a limited model that his office thinks will bring in $500 million in annual tax revenue.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, meanwhile, continue to fight for their proposed model. The two want to see 14 skins across four commercial casinos and three tribal gaming partners. At the least, Pretlow expects a lottery-run monopoly model resembling Cuomo’s vision to be the worst-case scenario for NY mobile betting.

Could upstate be excluded from mobile NY sports betting?

If Cuomo gets his way, there’s a possibility some New Yorkers will not be able to place mobile sports bets.

Sen. Joe Griffo announced Thursday that 10 upstate counties could be banned from taking part in mobile betting if tribal partners are not included in the agreement.

A settlement between the state and the Oneida Indians from 2013 says gaming not offered by the Oneida cannot take place in its exclusivity zone.

“Cutting out major parts of Upstate New York from participating in mobile betting is terrible public policy and would be unfair to these residents,” Griffo said. “If tribal nations are not incorporated into the state’s final bill, we would potentially be disenfranchising millions of New Yorkers from participating in mobile sports betting and from the economic benefits it generates.”

Griffo was later joined by Assemblymembers Marianne Buttenschone and Pamela Hunter in the call to include tribal partners.

Report: excluding Oneida could jeopardize revenue sharing

Keeping the Oneida Indians out of the agreement could void their sharing agreement with the state, a tribal source told Tom Precious of the Buffalo News:

Oneida Indian source: Senate mobile sports bet plan – says wagers occur where servers located — would put NYS in breach of ’13 pact w/ tribe by denying servers on Oneida land. Fed law violation, source says, & Oneidas would halt $70M in annual slot $ sharing w/ state/localities.

— Tom Precious (@TomPreciousALB) April 5, 2021

Addabbo: little chance for legalization beyond budget

Legalizing mobile New York sports betting doesn’t live and die through the budget process, at least technically speaking.

The two bills passed by Addabbo and Pretlow – S 1183 and A 1257, respectively – could still pass as standalone bills. Given how that process historically has failed, though, Addabbo is not optimistic on those chances:

“I have very little hope that we would do gaming issues post-budget because what’s the incentive?”

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