Queens lawmaker hails inaugural weekend of online sports betting in New York

Man watches soccer game and bets in his living room
State Senator Joseph Addabbo is excited about the benefits of mobile sports betting after the historic first weekend of operation. (Photo via Getty Images)

Mobile sports betting broke from the starting gate at a record-shattering pace across New York state during its inaugural weekend with more than 17.2 million transactions in the first two days of operation, according to GeoComply, the technology company tracking results for the four licensed operators that were officially approved to take bets.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, one of the top advocates for legalizing mobile sports wagering in the state, wants New Yorkers to know this new form of entertainment could benefit them, even if they never place a bet.

For those New Yorkers who are interested in betting on their sports, the rollout of mobile sports betting in the Empire State means they can safely and securely bet from their own homes and communities. Previously, they either had to travel to neighboring states that allow sports betting or head to the illegal market.

“Studies have shown that nearly 25% of New Jersey’s mobile sports betting revenue in previous years came from New Yorkers crossing the border into Jersey to place their wagers,” Addabbo said. “We hope that with mobile sports betting now legal in New York that those bettors will remain here safely to bet in their own state. Additionally, we can now help them if they have an addiction because we can regulate and monitor their accounts.”

By legalizing mobile sports betting, the state is expected to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue annually, Addabbo explained. Most of that money is earmarked for educational funds, meaning millions will be going to benefit schoolchildren across New York.

On average, the gaming industry in New York is responsible for approximately $3 billion for education each year, in addition to thousands of credible jobs. Additional tax revenues mean that the state will be significantly aided financially during the economic distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly $6 million has been set aside each year to fund gaming addiction programs and another $5 million annually for youth sports programs. Addabbo emphasized that in the state’s mobile sports betting, there are roughly a dozen safeguards and measures, including caps on an individual’s account, to protect them from problem gaming.

The five boroughs accounted for more than 8 million transactions over the weekend, according to GeoComply, eclipsing the totals of neighboring states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In a single day over the initial weekend, New York generated $3.7 million in tax revenue, which is more than it made in two years during its in-person sports betting business.

This made New York the top state for mobile sports betting on the very first day of the program’s launch, and Addabbo added that New York witnessed more mobile sports wagers than any other market had on its first day.

“We knew we were coming in late to the game with mobile sports betting as other states like New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania already had their programs up and running, some for two years,” Addabbo said. “But to see how quickly New York shot to the top of the list for the number of sports bets taken proves that our people were ready to embrace mobile sports betting in their home state. And with five additional operators close to being approved to go live, I hope we can continue to capitalize on this historic start and experience a growth in revenue, educational funding, jobs and new resources for gaming addiction and youth sports.”