Pretlow Touts Skins as ‘Best Model’ for NY Mobile Sports Betting as Budget Talks Linger

Posted on: April 2, 2021, 03:08h. 

Last updated on: April 2, 2021, 10:54h.

Thursday came and went without a budget deal in place in New York. However, a couple of lawmakers made some waves regarding mobile sports betting.

NY sports betting
New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow (foreground), surrounded by cameras. places the first sports bet at Rivers Casino Schenectady in July 2019. Pretlow’s plan for online sports betting in the state is for each licensed casino to partner with up to two operators. (Image:

How the state should oversee mobile wagering appears to be one of the stumbling blocks remaining between Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration.

Both Senate and Assembly Democrats have put forward a mobile sports betting plan that would give the state’s casinos control of the licenses. It would allow them to have two skins, or mobile partners, each. It also would allow affiliate relationships with off-track betting parlors and professional sports stadiums and arenas.

Cuomo, though, seeks a more state-controlled sports betting system. He wants to award licenses directly through a competitive bid process. It would involve far fewer operators than lawmakers’ skins approach. However, the governor believes his sports betting plan can generate more revenue for New York, perhaps up to $500 million.

While New York would run mobile sports betting, Cuomo’s proposal calls for the winning bidder or bidders to have partnerships with one of the state’s four commercially licensed casinos.

It’s uncertain now when an overall budget deal will be reached. However, the state’s comptroller said Thursday that a deal needs to pass by Monday in order to ensure thousands of state workers receive their next paycheck on time.

Multiple Sports Betting Skins a “Proven Model”

Prior to Thursday, reports indicated talks had moved in favor of the governor, with lawmakers reportedly willing to let Cuomo’s plan have a trial run.

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, seemingly squashed that with a series of tweets on Thursday.

The budget may be winding down, but we’re still pushing for my plan,” said Pretlow, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering. “Multiple skins, the competitive market approach is recognized as the best model around the country.”

Pretlow, whose proposal is in step with state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens, added that several states follow the method lawmakers are offering. He said the approach currently used in New Jersey, Indiana, and Iowa is a “proven model.”

Republican Raises Concern About Tribal Exclusion

With Democrats holding super majorities in both legislative chambers and Cuomo also a Democrat, it’s left New York Republicans to be little more than spectators while the budget negotiations continue.

However, one GOPer called on Democrats to make sure that all New Yorkers can participate in whatever mobile sports betting plan they enact. State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, said in a statement that the Oneida Indian Nation’s gaming compact with the state gives it an “exclusivity zone” in the central part of New York.

That zone, Griffo states, means that if gaming is not routed through the Oneida Nation, then residents in a 10-county area would have to drive outside the region to participate in mobile betting. That affected area would include Syracuse, the state’s fifth-largest city.

The senator said that would be unfair to those residents and would serve as an awful policy.

“If tribal nations are not incorporated into the state’s final bill, we would potentially be disenfranchising millions of New Yorkers from participating in mobile sports betting and from the economic benefits it generates,” he said.

UPDATE (9:30 am 4/2) – Later on Thursday, two central New York county executives joined Griffo in making a statement, urging lawmakers and Cuomo not to exclude the region from being able to access mobile sports betting.

“Having a statewide policy that cuts out central New York is unfair and must be fixed,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon. “As Albany leaders like to say, ‘We are one state.’ That means we need policies that every New Yorker can benefit from, not policies that cut out our constituents.”

The Oneida is one of three tribal nations that have compacts with the state. The others are the Seneca Nation of Indians and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.