Governor Andrew Cuomo has greenlit the possibility of NY mobile sports betting in the first series of State of the State addresses of 2021. Previously opposed to app-based sports betting, Cuomo has seen this new market as a possible aid to the multi-billion dollar deficit New York has.
Possibly surprising to New Yorkers, sports betting is legal in the state. However, individuals who want to place bets must be present at one of four licensed commercial casinos—all of which are spread out across New York’s large upstate area, missing a massive market of New Yorkers willing to bet, but unable to travel for it.
State legislature has long been interested in legalizing app-based sports betting, but hasn’t had the backing of Governor Cuomo. With Cuomo on board, New York will soon make up a large part of the already massive sports betting industry. Questions, however, have been raised as to the manner in which sports betting will exist in New York. Cuomo’s initial plans mirrored New York’s lottery system, resulting in the state receiving all the revenue.
“Many states have done sports betting, but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos, but it makes minimal money for the state. And I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state.” Cuomo said in a January 6 press conference.
This initial plan would have the State Gaming Commission field proposals from interested companies and then select only one, giving that company full control over the New York online sports betting market.
Cuomo’s New Deal
Fast forward to this past Thursday and Cuomo’s final State of the State address, and the plans have changed. Well, the plans are open to change. In discussing his proposal for online sports betting, Cuomo mentioned the State Gaming Commission will request proposals to select one or more providers. This drift from what would be a quasi monopoly of New York’s online betting marketing will allow for competition and more options for bettors, ultimately creating a better experience for the consumers.
Cuomo’s 2021 agenda reference reports of New Jersey’s online betting market that mentions 20% of New Jersey’s betting revenue comes from New Yorkers crossing the border to bet. Millions of dollars of tax revenue lost. If Cuomo’s in the business of making money for the state, he will try to give those bettors an option within state lines. Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimate that $837 million dollars worth of bets went from New York to New Jersey in 2019 alone. Add the value of illegal betting that happens in New York and it’s safe to assume the online sports betting market will easily become a billion dollar market. This money is being spent with or without Cuomo’s eye on it, so it is in his best interest to provide a safe, legal, and enjoyable experience to bettors. In return, Cuomo and New York will see a nice bump in their budget from tax revenue.