Local lawmaker reacts to legalizing mobile sports betting

Emily Burkhard
Created: April 06, 2021 11:57 PM

ALBANY - Mobile sports betting will soon be allowed in New York state. Governor Cuomo said it will provide more than $500 million in revenue, and New York could become the largest market for sports wagers in the US.

NewsChannel 13 spoke with Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D, Rotterdam) about what this means for Rivers Casino.

"There will be additional jobs that come out of this in a brand new market that we just haven't had here before,” Santabarbara said.

Santabarbara said New York state should have legalized mobile sports betting when sports betting became legal in casinos.

He said for too long New Yorkers downstate have been taking trains or driving into New Jersey to place sports bets on their phones.

"The only thing this does is increase revenue which means money coming back to our community, capturing that revenue that's being essentially lost,” Santabarbara said.

We asked Santabarbara if Rivers is guaranteed a license for mobile sports betting. He said he hasn't seen the official text yet, but he believes that's the case.

"My understanding in my conversations today again I don't have the text in front of me, is that the casinos will be able to participate,” he said. “So there won't be a scenario where they can't be a part of it and they have to compete and lose out."

NewsChannel 13 also asked if this could decrease traffic to Rivers overall. Santabarbara said statistics show that's an unlikely outcome.

"Sometimes you're in the casino and maybe you're in Duke’s or you're in the event center and you want to place a bet,” he said. “You don't even really have to go over to the space where they have the kiosks you can do it from your phone from within the casino while maybe you're playing another game or doing something else. So as you can see the possibilities start to multiply as to how many people can actually participate."

One thing Santabarbara wants more clarity on? Where the money made from mobile bets is going.

"I'm going to be keeping a close eye on the revenues,” he said. “I want to make sure they go back into our local communities. I want to make sure they go towards things like education. But we don't want to see is what happened with the lottery for that money I was supposed to be going to education with you going to other places."

NewsChannel 13 also reached out to the spokesperson for Rivers casino, they said they're waiting to see how the bill takes form before commenting.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates on this story.


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