At the beginning of January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo surprised the sports betting industry, telling reporters at a press conference that he was in on mobile betting in New York. The news comes as the state is about to face an estimated $50 billion budget deficit due to covid-19, and Cuomo is looking for a way to patch the hole quickly.
So, why not online sports betting?
It took roughly 12 hours before backlash came as Cuomo is looking to launch a lottery-based online sports betting industry, which would really affect growth and potential in the state. Lawmakers and other industry experts believe using a customer or casino-based system is much better in the long-term than the lottery.
Although states have the lottery to oversee sports betting, states that use the lottery to run it actually have seen less growth overall. Oregon is the perfect example. It has one online sportsbook run by the Oregon Lottery but has a small betting handle than Rhode Island, Iowa, and West Virginia.
New York could easily face a similar problem, but Cuomo has stated that the lottery system would allow money to go right into the state instead of through the casinos.
Last week, Spectrum Gaming released a report stating that the New York sports betting industry would bring in $1 billion in bets and $100 million in taxes between the four commercial casinos and three tribal casinos. The study never mentioned a lottery-based system and assumed New York would be using a casino-based on, even after Cuomo said he wants to go down the lottery route.
More Suport for New York Online Mobile Sports Betting
This week, the American Gaming Association made a statement saying it supports a customer-based online sports betting system.
“We come into 2021 with a strong foundation, a clear focus, record levels of support among Americans, and a loyal customer base that wants the excitement only gaming can deliver,” said AGA CEO Bill Miller in a press release. The American Gaming Association is looking out for customers in sports betting and understanding the importance of a sports betting model-driven around them compared to sportsbooks and the state that runs it.
Cuomo is looking to back a monopolistic structure that will hurt the state’s online industry for years to come if the New York Governor is not going to change his stance on what mobile wagering would look like in the state. New York has one of the largest populations in the U.S. and could become a huge player in the sports betting industry.
However, the state currently has in-person betting only in the state and has helped New Jersey expand its sports betting industry much further as close to $1 billion has been wagered in the Garden State by New Yorkers.
If Cuomo goes down the lottery route, the state might not see any changes in the number of people betting in other states. Connecticut is also looking to move on sports betting in 2021. If the state gets a bill passed before New York, it has more competition as New Yorkers will continue to flock out of state to place bets if the system isn’t fair to bettors.
It may be February, but Cuomo is skating on thin ice with many people and businesses coming out and supporting a customer sports betting model.