Mobile Wagering "Big Hangup" in Sports-Betting Debate

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Albany, NY (WBEN) - A plan to permit certain types of sports betting in New York State may get one final push before the end of the legislative session.

On Monday, The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee approved a bill that would allow commercial casinos to offer mobile sports wagering. That bill now heads to the Senate Finance Committee.

It addresses the one issue that seems to be giving lawmakers fits.

"The big hangup is the mobile component," said State Senator Rob Ortt.

Currently, the state has given the 'OK' to retail-only sports betting inside upstate commercial and Native American casinos. Those sportsbooks have yet to  open. The Governor has expressed concerns that rules permitting mobile betting would be in violation of the State Constitution, which would take years to change.

That means that in-person bets will likely take place soon, but mobile wagering remains in question.

"I do think there's a real push to get something done this year," Ortt said. "Even if there's nothing that happens statutorily, I think the Gaming Commission is going to move ahead with some type of regulations. So, I think what you're looking at is probably something in place for the start of the NFL season."

During a hearing on the issue last week, lawmakers heard testimony from Kip Levin of FanDuel that the online sports betting company can attribute 25% of its online NJ sports betting activity to New Yorkers who cross the border simply to make a wager on their phone.

The window to get something done is closing quickly, as the legislative session ends in late June.