Online Sports Betting in New York Not Likely for 2020, Key Lawmaker Hopes for Early 2021
Gary Hershorn/Getty Images. Pictured: New York City skyline
It’s likely that the state of New York will go another year without having mobile sports betting as Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wouldn’t be making up the $7 billion deficit with any new revenue as the budget closed last week.
Cuomo’s attention is obviously elsewhere as the state deals with being the U.S. epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sports betting is legal currently in New York, but unlike neighboring New Jersey, which has established itself as the “Vegas of the East,” mobile wagering is not prohibited. For context, bettors in New Jersey wagered $4.5 billion in 2019, with 84% (or $3.78 billion) occurred via mobile devices.
“I’m not giving up the fight,” said New York State Sen. Joseph Abbaddo, who has led the charge to get mobile betting for the state that has woefully underperformed thanks to legalization being restricted to four upstate land-based casinos. “New York calls itself excelsior (State motto which means “ever upward” in Latin), well in sports betting we are clearly not excelsior.”
New York generated $9.7 million in revenue via sports betting from July 2019 thru January 2020, compared to $243.3 million for New Jersey, according to figures compiled by Legal Sports Report.
Addabbo said he and his brethren had many meetings with state budget director Rob Mujica as the April 1 deadline approached. But ultimately, Cuomo’s decision of no new revenue sources meant that online sports betting wasn’t going to get a look.
Addabbo mentioned the money the state is spending battling COVID-19 creates might create a scenario where the state will be looking for new forms of revenue to plug the gap sooner rather than later. And if that leads to online sports betting being reconsidered, it would take 4-6 months to get up and running.
“We’re now looking at $10 billion we need to make up,” Addabbo said. “So I think we’re going to have to be called back into session in the fall, by Zoom, to address that unfinished business.”
Cuomo said Tuesday that a record 731 New Yorkers died in the last 24 hours of COVID-19, bringing the tally of those who passed in the state from the virus to 5,489, representing roughly 45% of the U.S. COVID-19 deaths.
Said Addabbo: “It’s almost irresponsible at this point not to consider online sports gambling to help address where we now find ourselves.”