When to Expect Online Sports Betting in New York

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Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York needs money in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has severely impacted the state.

New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo said he thinks some money from the state’s depleted budget could be made up through online sports betting.

As it stands, New York allows in-person sports betting at four upstate casinos. When taking into account the distance between those locations and New York City, Addabbo estimated New York could make anywhere from $160 million to $200 million a year from mobile betting.

“We do not as a state have the luxury of declining revenue at this point,” Addabbo told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer. “We have a severe budget deficit. Even prior to the coronavirus we had it, so now there’s a need for revenue.”

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow joined Addabbo in advocating for the inclusion of sports betting in New York’s fiscal budget in February, but the budget closed in April without mobile sports betting making the cut.

Governor Andrew Cuomo could also stand in the way of mobile wagering in 2020. While Cuomo will allow racetracks to open back up on June 1, he hasn’t touched mobile betting.

Addabbo wants to change that by the end of the year.

“In the past when Governor Cuomo wants something, we get it done,” Addabbo said. “I’m only hoping to work with him and his administration and convince him and his administration that this is an issue to work on, that we can do this.”

That will be a challenge, though, given the timing of the pandemic. While the New York legislative session isn’t technically over for 2020, Gov. Cuomo has seemed pessimistic about it returning.

To add to New York’s troubles, some of its residents travel to neighboring New Jersey to place mobile bets.

New Jersey has found plenty of success since rolling out mobile wagering. In 2019, residents bet $4.5 billion, and 84% of that came from mobile devices.

Since the state legalized sports betting in July 2019, New York has generated a total revenue of $9,646,708. In the same time span, New Jersey garnered $273,436,129 in total revenue.

If New York were to launch mobile betting, its proximity to New Jersey would allow operators to join the market quickly.

But so far, the negatives have outweighed the financial positives for the state.

“I think we all share the concern for those who have an addiction,” Addabbo said. “Right now, New Yorkers are going to Jersey to do mobile sports betting. They’re doing it illegally. We can’t help them because we don’t know who they are.”

There’s definitely an appetite for extra revenue streams in the state, but given the coronavirus crisis in New York plus the timing of legislative sessions, mobile betting will likely have to wait until 2021.

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