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NY Mobile Sports Betting: Lottery Could Be The Winner

The New York Lottery could be the winner in a yet-to-be-announced mobile sports betting deal between state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo told reporter Karina Gerry with WUTR-TV in a press call this afternoon that he still wants a lottery-based mobile sports betting system. The state would contract directly with a mobile sports vendor, instead of allowing casinos to be the “middleman,” he told Gerry.

“We’ll contract with them, and we’ll make the money,” said Cuomo. “We don’t need the casinos as the middleman.”

Cuomo said lawmakers are still negotiating for a casino-based system. Mobile sports betting talks continued today as part state budget negotiations in Albany.

“That’s the first point of contention — should you let the casinos make the money, or should the state make the money directly?”

The Cuomo Sports Betting Plan

Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow are negotiating with Cuomo for a casino-based mobile sports betting system. Mobile skins would go to the casinos, which could then offer mobile sports wagers through big-name affiliates like Madison Square Garden.

But Cuomo doesn’t seem to have budged from the pro-lottery stance he took on mobile sports betting in January.

Cuomo told Gerry today that letting casinos run mobile sports betting will let them “make the profit.”

“My position is that the state should make the money directly,” he said.

The Oneida Nation Issue

A wrinkle in mobile sports betting negotiations is the Oneida Indian Nation’s exclusivity over gaming in its tribal region. The Oneida tribe — which operates three casinos in Central New York — wants to make sure that revenue from mobile sports wagers placed in the region is shared with the tribe. 

State Budget Director Robert Mujica said during today’s press call that any mobile sports betting budget deal will respect the Oneida’s exclusive right to operate certain types of gaming in Central New York. 

“The state would contract with entities. We would get the revenue, and they (the  vendor) would conduct the online gaming,” said Mujica. The Oneida Indian Nation, he said, would share in revenue from wagers made in their gaming area. 

“At the end of the day, we want to come up with an agreement that respects the views of the Oneidas, as well as all the counties, and make sure that revenue goes back to the state and gets shared in different ways,” Mujica added.

The Oneida Nation’s Response To Cuomo

The Oneida Indian Nation has exclusive gaming rights in the Central New York region under a 2013 agreement with the State of New York. That agreement gives the Oneida tribe control over specific types of gaming in the Central New York region per a revenue-sharing agreement with state and local governments. 

The tribe responded to today’s comments by Cuomo’s office with a press statement  that expressed “regret that the State” is not on board with allowing casinos to operate mobile sports betting in New York. It is the casino model that the tribe says has the support of tribal and commercial casinos, and the New York State Legislature.

What’s Next 

Compromise on New York mobile sports betting with the Oneida Nation is still possible. The statement released today by the tribe ended with this: “… we remain open to discussing an outcome that works for the State, the Nation and our entire region.” 

The New York State Legislature is in the final hours of its work on the fiscal year (FY) 2022 state budget. The new fiscal year began on April 1. Budget conferences are working with Cuomo to finalize the now-overdue budget this week. 




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