New York is facing an unprecedented budget deficit due to COVID-19, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is finally opening up to the idea of mobile sports betting to help patch the hole.
The New York Governor understands that patching a $15 billion budget deficit will not be easy and is looking at everything possible from raising taxes to legalizing marijuana. Expanding sports betting was also a suggestion, but it did not feel like an endorsement to the industry.
However, Cuomo has been on record to say that he is opposed to mobile betting, so the fact he threw in the suggestion of online sports betting in his press conference this week suggests this could be a possibility that can happen sooner than later.
New York has in-person betting at tribal and commercial casinos in the state but has not seen much success. New Jersey has a full-fledged sports betting industry that recently hit a $5 billion betting handle for 2020. A portion of the funds has been coming from New York, largely due to no online sports betting available in the Empire State.
Now, Gov. Cuomo is looking for ways to quickly patch the budget deficit before the Fiscal 2021 budget is due in April. He can begin to move forward with industry expansion or wait until the last minute in the spring when the 2021 state congressional meetings being.
New York State Compeition
With limited betting options for New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania can pick up the slack that New York is lacking. In November, New Jersey had a betting handle of over $900 million, and Pennsylvania saw a handle of $525.8 million in October.
Last year, a study showed that New Yorkers bet over $800 million in New Jersey in 2018 alone. That number will continue to rise as sports betting becomes more popular among sports fans.
When New York casinos closed in the spring and summer due to the coronavirus, the state brought in $0 in taxes since all betting is done in-person. With New Jersey having mobile sports betting, the Garden State was able to capitalize on those months.
With the budget deficit New York is facing, the pressure is starting to get felt. Neighboring states are crushing people despite New York having almost 12 million more residents than New York and 8 million more than Pennsylvania. New York could become a huge sports betting hub if mobile betting is legalized.
Mobile Betting Benefits
Sen. Joseph Addabbo has been at the helm of pushing for online sports betting legalization. Despite constant effort to get a mobile betting bill passed, Addabbo has not seen success, but there is slow momentum heading in the right direction.
After Cuomo’s press conference, Addabbo should feel more confident the state can get something done with mobile betting in the future. Addabbo has been on record to say that 25% of the betting revenue New Jersey receives comes from New York bettors. Estimates also put betting revenue at $200 million once a mature online betting market comes to New York.
The opportunity is there for the Empire State, and now might be the best time to get a bill through to allow online sports betting. New York will be scrambling for revenue streams come April, and passing a bill now for online sports betting will be a huge boost for the New York budget.