‘We should act now’: Queens lawmaker pushing for sports betting to close $2.3B shortfall in budget

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Although the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a nationwide ban on sports betting in May 2018, New York state has yet to pass its own legislation regulating this activity.

One Queens elected official says could not only drain the coffers of organized crime operations but could close a $2.3 billion gap in the budget.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo was optimistic about the potential of the state gaining in tax revenue to fund education, but now he sees the uses of those funds going toward the shortfall in the 2020 executive budget, in addition to the $3 billion deficit expected by Gov. Andrew Cuomo starting next year.

“Now more than ever it makes sense to legalize sports betting to help fund essential programs by bringing in additional revenue. It offers great potential for increasing revenue without placing the burden on taxpayers. It creates new jobs, and adds crucial funding support for education in New York. We should act now to create new wagering opportunities, including mobile and online betting, to help close the gap,” Addabbo said.  “There are many economic advantages for the state in legalizing sports wagering including tax revenue from betting, sales tax revenue, job creation, additional income and increased payroll. I am confident that by working together, we can develop and enact a comprehensive plan to legalize sports betting in New York.”

Addabbo cited New Jersey’s 8.5 percent tax on sports betting which saw a yield of $2.45 million in November alone. In May, Addabbo said there was preliminary legislation on the senate floor in Albany that would see that legalized sports betting was properly implemented.

“It is big money, we know it is. People enjoy it as entertainment, but there is an illegal element to it,” Addabbo told TimesLedger in May. “We had a hearing earlier this year through the gaming committee and a gentleman from Nevada gave testimony and said, ‘We’ve practically eliminated illegal gaming and betting.’”

But tax on wagers alone is not the only upside Addabbo sees potential for; sales tax revenue, job creation, additional income and increased payroll across could bring additional funds for the state.

The deadline for the legislature to vote on the 2020 budget is April 1.