NEW YORK — A new study reveals that New Jersey is reaping the benefits from New York gamblers crossing state lines to place bets. Because of this, there is a renewed push to legalize sports gambling in the Empire State despite the governor’s resistance. The fact that New Yorkers are spending billions every year, in New Jersey place wagers on sports events is money lost in the Empire State.
New York State Legislators React
“I hear the complaints. For example, I can go to a coffee shop and I will hear about it from my constituents. They don’t want to go to drive their car or take the train to New Jersey. They want to stay in their own state,” State Senator Joseph Addabbo remarked recently.
Addabbo is a Democrat who represents Queens and Howard Beach. The recent New Jersey study gives him new ammunition to push through legislation to legalize mobile and online sports betting.
The new study revealed that last year New York residents, spent $837 million gambling on sporting events in New Jersey. That was a full 20% of the $4.6 billion bet on sports in New jersey during 2019. New Yorkers often call friends and relatives living in New Jersey to place their bets.
“The issue we face is we are losing revenue to New Jersey as well as losing jobs and losing educational funding. If we don’t legalize sports betting in our own state, that financial loss is only going to grow,” Addabbo said.
Senator Addabbo has introduced a new gambling bill that he believes would bring in millions for New York, which faces a huge $6 billion budget shortfall.
Addabbo estimates New York could rake in $48 million for selling just four new gambling licenses. That’s on top of collecting an 8.5% tax on in-person bets and a 12.5% tax on every mobile or online wager.
“The bottom line is, we need the revenue. We could bring in upwards of $200 million just this year if we legalize mobile sports betting. Industry regulations indicate the numbers are much higher the longer sports gambling is legalized,” Addabbo said.
How do New Yorkers feel about legalizing sports betting?
New Yorkers in Addabbo’s district had a wide range of opinions, when it comes to legalizing sports gambling.
“Absolutely, yes. Because there are already a lot of people that have bookies or people that they go to place bets. All that revenue really could come to New York and help our economy,” said Susan Garofolo of Howard Beach.
“I could take it or leave it. The truth is, it could get you started on a bad habit. There are a lot of people already around here with a lot of bad habits.” noted Carl Catapano of Howard Beach.
“Everybody does it anyway, so it should be legal,” said Dotsy Davis, a resident of Glendale. “If it’s legal, you won’t have to worry about the bookies breaking your arms if you don’t pay up.”
“I think it would bring in a lot of revenue for New York,” observed Michael Siderakis of Bayside.
Addabbo would like to see the bill passed by the April 1 budget deadline. While the Senate is for it, the Assembly is not. A spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie only indicated that Speaker Heastie would discuss the matter with his members.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has previously taken the same stance as Governor Andrew Cuomo, arguing an amendment to the state Constitution is necessary to allow mobile betting. Current New York state law limits sports gambling to in-person sports bets at just four upstate casinos, Rivers, Del Lago, Tioga Downs, and Resorts World Catskills, as well as tribal casinos. A state constitutional amendment would be a three-year-long process.