Will the COVID-19 Crisis Change Cuomo’s Stance on Mobile Sports Betting?

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s position on mobile sports betting is well-known; he stands firmly against it. That has not changed during the COVID-19 lockdown, and the resulting $6 billion budget shortfall.

On March 25, New York state lawmakers, led by State Senator Joseph Addabbo, wanted to include mobile sports betting in the budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

However, during the midst of the COVID-19 crisis in New York City, the governor felt he had more important issues to deal with. Now that New York’s COVID-19 crisis is diminishing, and sports leagues are ready to resume play it could be time to put mobile sports betting back on the table.

Covid-19’s Deep Impact on New York

State Senator Joseph Addabbo has long been the strongest proponent of legalized mobile sports betting in the New York State Legislature. Addabbo believes the COVID-19 crisis will cost the state at least $15 billion in revenue. The state was already facing a deficit, and the cost of the pandemic only deepens the budget crisis in the Empire State.

There is no doubt that the state will lose billions in revenue if Governor Cuomo refuses to reopen the state for business. While New York’s COVID cases continue, the caseload is falling. New York City remains in lockdown, which makes it hard for the state to earn tax revenue from the city. However, the city has suspended all “nonessential” businesses through June, and there is a good chance that the lockdown will continue through the summer.
A significant revenue could be earned for the state from sports betting and online gaming if the lockdown of small businesses continues. Over the last year, New York State has averaged $50 million in monthly revenue. However, during the lockdown, New York has earned no revenue from the state’s casinos and sportsbooks.

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No Mobile Gambling Means No Gaming Tax Income

In March, as the New York State legislature was finalizing the state’s budget, Addabbo attempted to get a mobile gaming bill passed. Unfortunately, Addabbo failed and mobile gambling was didn’t make the cut. However, the budget could be amended, and this could be a good time for Governor Cuomo to reconsider his stand on mobile gambling.
While Pennsylvania closed physical casinos due to the pandemic, the state is still earning millions in revenue because of legalized mobile gambling.

The fact is, New York’s budget deficit is severe, and mobile gambling could help reduce the shortfalls. New York typically sees $50 million in revenue every month from gaming; unfortunately, that is not happening as long as the casinos and racetracks remain shut down. To New York’s detriment, neighboring New Jersey has seen a 25% increase in bets from New Yorkers. If New York were to legalize mobile betting, that money could have remained in the state.

The February handle for sports betting In New Jersey was a hefty $494.8 million, and more than 88% of that came in through mobile betting. Also, 90% of Pennsylvania’s $348.3 million handle in January came from mobile betting.

Cuomo Stands Against Mobile Gaming

Governor Cuomo’s firm stand against mobile gaming could hurt the state’s financial status in the long-term. The hard-hit state needs to find new ways to generate revenue for the future as the lockdown continues.

Mobile gaming has been a big success in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and many other states. Online casino games and sports betting could help generate revenue for New York too.

Major sports leagues are slowly preparing to restart play in the US. Online sportsbooks have actually seen that May revenue was higher than in April. This is due to NASCAR, the UFC, KBO, Golf, and Bundesliga remaining active and taking bets.

The fact remains, New York needs new ways to earn revenue, and Senator Addabbo wants to solve the problem by legalizing mobile gaming for the 2020 fiscal year.

It’s hoped that seeing the revenue earned by neighboring states will sway Governor Cuomo to change his stance on mobile gaming and sports betting for the state in 2020.

New Jersey has demonstrated that thousands of New Yorkers come to their state to place bets, due to Cuomo’s hard stance against amending the New York gaming system. The pandemic has put pressure on Governor Cuomo to fix the budget, and mobile gaming and sports betting can be a way to do that.

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