Faced with the enormous quandary of a nearly $14 billion state budget deficit mainly due to the economic shutdown due to the coronavirus emergency, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced legislation to authorize mobile sports wagering as part of the 2021 State of the State.
Under Cuomo’s proposal, the New York State Gaming Commission will issue a request for proposals to select and license a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports wagering in New York. This operator or platform must have a partnership with one of the existing licensed commercial casinos.
The commission will also require any entity operating mobile wagering apps include safeguards against abuses and addiction.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo, the chairman of the Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, has been advocating for the state to legalize mobile sports betting that has proven to be so lucrative in the state of New Jersey.
“It is encouraging to hear that Governor Cuomo will embrace mobile sports betting in his State of the State Address,” Addabbo said.”By legalizing mobile sports betting, New York will be able to reap the benefits of the economic gains it will create and help the state rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to increasing educational funding, addressing illegal activity in the state and assisting those with gaming addictions. I look forward to working with the governor and his office to efficiently implement mobile sports betting for the people of New York.”
In November alone, the Garden State generated more than $930 million in sports betting with more than 90 percent of the revenue coming from online bets, according to the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement.
“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,” Cuomo said. “New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States, and by legalizing online sports betting we aim to keep millions of dollars in revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.”
The sports gambling market is evolving rapidly. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court in Murphy v. NCAA overturned a federal law prohibiting most states from authorizing sports wagering. Sports wagering is now legal online in 14 states, including the bordering states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, while it is only legal in New York at the four upstate commercial gaming facilities and Native American gaming facilities.
An industry study found that nearly 20 percent of New Jersey’s sports wagering revenue comes from New York residents, costing the New York state millions of dollars in lost tax revenue.
“With New York not allowing mobile sports betting, our revenues will continue to be poured into New Jersey and surrounding states that have mobile sports betting, in addition to a missed opportunity for increased educational funding that is generated from our state’s gaming operations and creation of new jobs,” Addabbo said following a hearing last spring. “Just because New York does not allow mobile sports betting does not mean that people are not making sports wagers; they are just doing it illegally. Many residents do not want to take a long car ride to make a sports bet, so they go to their local bookie. I believe with mobile and an increase in accessibility to authorized sports betting, we can recapture the revenue currently being lost to illegal sports wagering and as a consequence, increase educational funding as well.”