So what’s the holdup, New York?
With the Aug. 12 deadline long past for the state gaming commission to pick the winning bid to conduct an NY sports betting study, Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. recently met with executive director Rob Williams to get an explanation for the delay.
Addabbo, who previously told Legal Sports Report that four companies answered the RFP, indicated that the commission’s inaction could be an indication that commissioners weren’t satisfied with the bids and wanted to give time for other applicants.
“My expectation based on our conversation is the selection will be made soon, which will only make it a couple weeks late,” Addabbo said.
He compared the situation to NY’s annual struggle to meet deadlines for the state budget. The legislative branches and governor prefer to have the budget done well more than done on-time.
“If there’s a credible entity out there saying it would like to submit a bid but can’t because it can’t hit the deadline, the commission doesn’t want to limit a credible bidder from being able to submit something,” Addabbo said. “If the industry was told the deadline moved a little bit in order to get a credible bidder to submit an application, I think that’s the right thing to do.”
Study dates likely to be pushed back
The NY sports betting study was to begin September 1, which won’t happen after the delay in choosing the bid. It will also make it difficult for the chosen company to hit aggressive targets of November 29 for a first draft and December 31 for the final report.
Addabbo isn’t concerned that these deadlines could be missed.
“I think deadlines are ambiguous little items and timeframes,” Addabbo said. “We’re not talking about blowing past a deadline by months or even a year. If we’re going to go past a deadline by a couple of weeks to get a better study, I’m with that. Picking the right entity to do the survey is a better decision than just hitting a deadline.”
Senator optimistic about impact on NY sports betting
Addabbo led the way for the Senate to pass a bill that would have allowed New York’s upstate commercial casinos to offer mobile sports wagering and serve as hubs for affiliates located in other regions of the state.
The mobile NY sports betting bill went nowhere with the Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Addabbo hopes they are swayed by the data presented in the study.
“Whether it’s used in the budget or post budget, this study hopefully can be the foundation to make good decisions, credible decisions, positive decisions in regards to gaming in our state,” Addabbo said. “We’re really optimistic about this study and what it can do for revenue, education funding, future job growth and maximizing our potential in all facets of gaming.”
The study also could lead to:
Putting lottery offerings online
Approving three additional casinos closer to New York City
Expanding VLT and off-track betting facilities
Changing the tax rate for commercial casino games
Putting other forms of gambling online
“What we on the committee are looking for is a blueprint for consistency and maximizing the potential of gaming in our state,” said Addabbo, who chairs the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. “This study, if done correctly, really could be beneficial to the rest of our state.”
Lawmaker provides needed guidance
Addabbo mentioned that he discussed a few other concerns with Williams. He said that fourth-quarter numbers aren’t typically the strongest for gaming because of the holidays.
He heard back that the study might go into the first quarter of 2020, a postponement of its scheduled due date.
Addabbo emphasized the importance of making the study cooperative with the industry so that stakeholders will provide accurate data.
“I will continue to stress upon industry leaders to weigh in with the Gaming Commission,” Addabbo said. “In my conversation with Rob, I reminded him that myself, my staff and the committee are ready to help to further this study along in any way we can.”
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