After watching neighboring New Jersey generate billions in revenue in the midst of an economy-decimating pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he would make legalizing online sports betting a focal point of his policy proposals when he addresses his constituents and fellow lawmakers in his State of the State address next week.
In a statement published in the Daily News Wednesday morning, Cuomo said that New York “has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States.”
The governor added that by legalizing mobile sports wagering, the state would be able to “keep millions of dollars in tax revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild” from the coronavirus crisis.
In November alone, New Jersey residents placed approximately $931 million worth of bets, breaking the single-month record for the fourth consecutive month, and bringing the YTD total to more than $5 billion.
$872.1 million, or 93.6% of those bets, were made on 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,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo had previously contended that the legalization of online sports betting would require a constitutional amendment and remained opposed to mobile wagering for much of 2020, a position that frustrated many of his fellow New York lawmakers. However, facing a looming budget deficit, Cuomo finally started to warm to the idea last month. “Are there other ways to get revenue? How about marijuana? How about sports betting?” Cuomo said during a remote briefing in December. Cuomo’s proposal next week will reportedly require mobile sports operators to be licensed by the state and tethered to a licensed gaming facility. According to the Daily News, Cuomo will mandate that the New York State Gaming Commission “expand existing integrity programs to ensure any entity operating mobile gaming apps implement all necessary safeguards against abuses and addiction.” New Jersey collected north of $30 million in taxes on mobile sports betting in November, raising the total to $268.8 million in 2020.
$837 million. That’s the amount of money New York residents wagered in New Jersey in 2019, according to a gaming report last year by Eilers & Krejcik.