Governor Cuomo to Push for Legal NY Sports Betting
There is good news for sports fans in New York after Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested that he would seek to legalize online sports betting in the state. In the past, Cuomo has said that doing so would require a constitutional amendment; however, after neighboring state New Jersey generated billions in revenue through sports betting during the pandemic, he appears to have changed his mind.
Cuomo has said that he will make the policy a focal point of his proposals when he makes his State of the State address next week. In a statement, he said that New York “has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States.” He went on to say that by legalizing mobile sports betting, New York would be able to retain millions of dollars in tax revenue, which is currently going elsewhere.
In November 2020, New Jersey residents bet roughly $931 million on sports, which broke the single-month record for the fourth consecutive month and brought the YTD total to over $5 billion. The vast majority of those bets, 93.6%, were made with mobile devices.
At a time when New York faces a historic budget deficit due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the current online sports wagering structure incentivizes a large segment of New York residents to travel out of state to make online sports wagers or continue to patronize black markets.
There have been signs that Cuomo’s position was changing for a while. In a December remote briefing, Cuomo was discussing ways to raise more revenue, and he suggested both marijuana and sports betting as possibilities. It is thought that his proposal will require operators to be licensed by the state and linked to a licensed gaming facility.
Furthermore, he will require the New York State Gaming Commission to expand its integrity programs to make sure that operators put in place proper safeguards against abuse and addiction.
According to a gaming report, last year from Eilers & Krejcik, New York residents bet $837 million in New Jersey in 2019, demonstrating that a change in New York laws could result in significant revenues.