New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now willing to bet on online sports wagering. After long opposing to the legalization of online sports betting in New York, the governor now says that he will push for it during his upcoming annual address to the state.
Said Cuomo in a statement:
“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 tax revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.”
A Focal Point of State of the State Address
On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo said that legal online sports betting will be a focal point of his policy proposals when he addresses his constituents and fellow lawmakers during his State of the State address next week.
“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.”
Under the governor’s proposal, mobile sports operator will have to obtain a state-issued license and be tied to a legal gaming facility. He will reportedly ask the New York Gaming Commission to look for proposals or offering legal online sports betting and to ensure that gaming operators include protection against addiction and abuses.
Change of Heart
For much of 202, Cuomo remained opposed to online sports betting and argued that its legalization would need a constitutional amendment. However, with the state facing a looming budget deficit and revenue shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor started to warm to the idea of legal online sports betting last month.
During a remote briefing last month, the governor said:
“Are there other ways to get revenue? How about marijuana? How about sports betting?”
Residents in neighboring New Jersey have been able to place wagers using mobile devices and computers since 2018. Today, the Garden State is poised to overtake Nevada as the United States’ largest sports betting market. In November 2020, a total of $872 online bets were placed in New Jersey, generating $30M in taxes. That amount brought the overall 2020 haul of the state from legal online sports betting to $268.8M, with the final numbers expected to be revealed next week.