April 21, 2021

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New York Lawmakers Agree to Legalize Mobile Sports Betting

ALBANY, N.Y.—New York lawmakers were set to legalize mobile sports betting as part of the new state budget headed for final approval on Wednesday.

The state will select at least two companies through a competitive bidding process this year to operate online wagering, according to language in the $212 billion spending plan. Members of the Democrat-controlled state Senate and Assembly approved a budget bill with the provisions on Wednesday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would sign the measure.

Lawmakers considered and rejected a budget provision that would have permitted up to three additional casinos in downstate areas, including New York City. Licenses for that area are on hold until 2023. The budget did call for the state Gaming Commission to solicit interest from prospective bidders and write a report about casino expansion.

But state leaders said New York was losing out on revenue from mobile sports betting to illegal operators and nearby states, including New Jersey. They said they hope legal wagers will eventually yield $500 million of annual tax revenue.

The budget language requires the Gaming Commission to issue a request for proposals by July and award licenses later this year. The commission must select two platform providers, but they may partner with multiple operators, or skins, which provide consumer-facing products.

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