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A study by Spectrum Gaming Group, which needs to be completed before New York mobile sports betting can move forward, has been given a deadline extension. 

Spectrum was chosen by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) to carry out research on online sports betting last November. 

According to the NYSGC, the extension was granted due to the disruption that COVID-19 has caused within the state. 

The debate surrounding legalizing the vertical on digital devices has dragged on for over 12 months. At the moment, it’s unknown when the Empire State can begin making progress in this area. 

No Clear Date Set for the New Deadline 

Spectrum has been granted an unspecified amount of time to complete its study. As such, New York could be waiting a while longer for mobile sports wagering. 

Originally, the study was supposed to have been completed by 1st June. 

Sports Handle, a US-facing publication dedicated to online sports betting, received an email from NYSGC spokesman Brad Maione. The correspondence said the following. 

“The potential impacts of this pandemic on the future of existing gaming and its implications on future development need to be fully considered. 

“Accordingly, we have agreed to provide the additional time necessary to fully measure this issue.”

Other Obstacles in Place 

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it clear in the past that he opposes legal mobile sports betting. He also believes that to make it a possibility, there would need to be an amendment to the state’s constitution. This could take three years to complete, if not longer. 

Before voting on the amendment is allowed, it would have to face two successive legislative sessions and pass the pair of them. 

Could Mobile Sports Betting Help New York’s Financial Struggles? 

Even before COVID-19 wreaked havoc in New York, the state was suffering a widening budget deficit. According to a report released in April Cuomo’s Budget Office, this year’s state budget will have a $13.3 billion deficit. At the beginning of 2020, that had stood at $6 billion. It had also been widening for a while.

The report claims that $10.1 billion must be cut from the current state budget. $8 billion of these would be made to financial services. This includes schools, healthcare providers and local governments.

Over the next four years, it’s predicted that New York will suffer from a structural budget deficit totaling $61 billion. Meanwhile, Boston Consulting Group carried out an assessment which suggests that the pandemic and economic recovery will mean that the Empire State will lose $243 billion. This is 14% of its overall gross domestic product (GDP). 

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow had recommended that Cuomo added mobile sports betting to the 2021 state budget. This could have cushioned the blow, with Addabbo believing that $60 million would have been brought in from licensing fees and an additional $30 million coming from annual tax revenues. However, Cuomo did not listen to their pleas. 

The impact of no digital sports betting in New York has been pointed out in the past. Last year, “conservative estimates” from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming believed that $837 million was bet by New York residents in neighboring New Jersey. Based on revenue of $57 million, the Empire State missed out on $6 million in tax earnings. 

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