New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took what many believe to be a jab at online sports betting with his proposed budget recently. However, some state lawmakers still hope that there’s an opportunity to legalize the sports betting expansion they want.
Governor Cuomo only included a tiny expansion of sports betting in his proposed budget, while simultaneously blasting what he views as an irresponsible plan to resolve New York’s budget deficit.
Cuomo Allows Nominal Sports Betting Expansion
At the present time, just four upstate casinos offer sports betting. Likewise, some Native American casinos in New York State also offer sports betting. But they can only offer sports betting in specifically designated sportsbook lounges.
The proposed Cuomo budget only nominally expands the availability; now, the same facilities would be able to offer sports betting anyplace on the casino floor. This will give the operators the chance to install kiosks at more places within their facilities, providing more convenience to players.
It’s not a big change, and it won’t do much to increase the negligible tax revenues sports betting has generated in the state. In fact, the state made less than $1 million in sportsbook tax revenue in 2019, when sports betting went live in July. By contrast, New Jersey, which generates most of its revenue online, added a hefty $40 million to both the state and Atlantic City in tax revenue.
Despite the facts, Governor Cuomo remains unbending in his opposition to online sports betting. Moreover, he appeared to allude to such proposals in his recent budget presentation to the state legislature.
“There are no gimmicks. There will be no new casino revenue,” the Governor told lawmakers. “This isn’t the time to hatch creative, and irresponsible, revenue streams to resolve a problem that doesn’t really exist.”
This is bad news for New Yorkers, who often drive across state lines to New Jersey to place their bets online. However, the governor’s proposal is far from the final word on the budget. In fact, some lawmakers believe there is still time to legalize online sports betting this year.
New York Must Lead, Not Follow
State Senator Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens) is leading the charge to legalize online sports betting in the state. Addabbo introduced a bill to the State Senate last year to legalized online sports betting.
We’re New Yorkers,” Addabbo said. “We’re the state who should be out front. But instead, New Jersey does it. And we’re just sitting here watching Jersey basically take the tax money New York should get.”
Even the casinos in the northern part state are in favor of taking sports bets online. The in-state casinos should benefit a little from the new rules on sports betting Cuomo included in his budget proposal.
“To increase the potential legalized sports betting can have in reducing New York’s budget deficit, we urge state leaders to strongly consider legalizing online betting in the final budget package,” Brent Stevens, CEO of the Del Lago Resort & Casino, said in a statement. “New Jersey is already enjoying the benefits of mobile sports. Furthermore, a full 25% of that wagering is from New York residents.”
Addabbo says it’s unclear why Governor Cuomo is intent on his opposition to online sports betting. It’s postulated that Cuomo is concerned it may require an amendment to the state constitution. However, the need for a constitutional amendment is something proponents of the expansion dispute. Still, Addabbo remains hopeful that Governor Cuomo’s opinion can be changed before next year’s budget is finalized.
“We have until March to persuade the governor that mobile sports betting has a place in our state,” Addabbo remarked. “Voters need to get out and let everyone know that they want mobile sports betting in New York.”
And, as always, don’t forget to gamble responsibly.