Queens senator believes mobile sports betting and full-scale casino licenses could help solve state budget deficit

Photos taken at Las Vegas.
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As he delivered his annual State of the State message to the Legislature on Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo offered few specifics on how he would deal with the second largest budget deficit of his 10 years in office. Meanwhile, state Senator Joseph Addabbo, the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, has a way to raise significant state revenue and he will renew his push to pass his mobile sports betting legislation.

“As we go into a very difficult fiscal year, facing a state budget deficit of more than $6 billion, and working on my initiatives mentioned in the governor’s State of the State, I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and my legislative colleagues to identify new sources of revenue to help close the budget gap, revitalize our economy, support local families and businesses, increase educational funding and continue to provide vital services to New Yorker in need.”

While he enjoys watching sports, Addabbo doesn’t bet on sports, but he sees New York missing out on revenue and jobs.

“First and foremost, to address these issues, I will continue to advocate for the implementation of mobile sports betting in New York State, which will curb the flow of dollars to nearby states, that could be used, now and in the future, to balance the state budget and provide needed funding support for education and create jobs,” Addabbo said. “We took a step forward last year in permitting sports betting in several upstate casinos, but adding the mobile wagering component is crucial to reaping the benefits of this gaming activity and enabling us to compete with other states.”

New Yorkers travel to New Jersey so they can place bets on their mobile phones and while the December numbers yet to be reported, New Jersey sports betting is on track to rake in about $40 million.

Addabbo has other revenue generating initiatives up his sleeve, too.

“I also intend to explore options that may be pursued with regard to the three unused casino licenses that are still available to launch gaming facilities in the downstate region,” Addabbo said. “These licenses represent an untapped source of revenue for New York State, which could also be directed to important state programs and funding for our schools.”

The three downstate casino developers, including Resorts World Casino New York City, in Addabbo’s district, are said to be willing to pay $500 million for a full-scale casino license, which allows dealer-manned table games such as poker, blackjack, roulette, and baccarat as opposed to the video gaming which it currently has. Such a transition for the downstate casinos would create hundreds of good-paying union jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars each year in additional revenue for the state.

“I will be holding a public hearing of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee on Jan. 22 to begin gathering public and industry input on how we can best place these casino licenses on the front burner,” Addabbo said. “This will be a challenging year on many levels, and I am pledged to pursuing initiatives that will be part of the solution to the fiscal and public policy issues we are confronting.”