New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has changed his stance on online sports betting, and it could lead to big things for the state. Cuomo first mentioned his new opinion in December, but he made it official earlier this week.
Cuomo has openly been an opponent of mobile sports betting, stating that a new constitutional amendment was needed to make it legal. Now that the state is facing a significant budget crisis, he appears to be turning to the industry to help bail the state out.
The State Gaming Commission could begin taking applications for online sports betting to gauge interest. New York could potentially become a huge sports betting market, but there is work left to do.
This support from Cuomo will give lawmakers a boost to create and pass sports betting legislation that would be the framework for the mobile industry. Several lawmakers have been working on these bills for years, and there will likely be several proposed in the coming weeks.
New York Falling Behind
New York is the fourth-largest state in terms of population, but the current sports betting market is producing much smaller numbers. The state could eventually become a major market in the U.S., but only if they can pass favorable laws.
New Jersey is the biggest sports betting market in the U.S., posting a betting handle total of more than $930 million in December. Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are next on the list, and they all have a significant headstart on New York.
Sports Betting Through the Lottery
Even though Cuomo recently expressed his support for online sports betting, he also gave some interesting and questionable remarks. Cuomo expressed a desire to run online sports betting similar to the state lottery, which would be a considerable blow to sportsbooks.
A few markets, including Washington D.C. and Oregon, run their online sports betting through the lottery, and it has been nothing short of a disaster. New Hampshire has been successful using this model, but that state is much smaller than New York.
It’s unlikely that lawmakers will go along with this plan, and they will look to pass a bill similar to what New Jersey offers. That action could create a stalemate that would keep sports betting strictly retail.
2022 A More Realistic Goal
The news from Cuomo earlier this week gave optimism to both sports bettors and sportsbooks in New York, but there is still a long way to go. It is also expected there will be plenty of opposition or debates amongst commercial and tribal casinos.
State lawmakers will also have to determine how many online sports betting licenses will be available and who is eligible to apply for one. Registration is another element that must be discussed and agreed upon before a bill is passed.
With so much work left to do, it appears that launching online sports betting in 2022 is a much safer goal in New York. The legalization of online betting could come within the next 12 months, but getting things up and running will be the real challenge.