New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is finally on board with mobile sports betting. For quite some time, the governor has remained against legalizing online wagering, but now he seems to see how the industry will help bring in new revenues while the state is still struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adding Mobile Betting to the State of the State Address
The Governor announced this week that he will be added a mobile sports betting measure to his policy proposals within the State of the State address next week. In a statement on the matter, Cuomo said that New York has the potential to be the largest sports betting market in the US. With online sports betting legalized, the state would be able to keep millions of dollars in tax revenues, instead of seeing it go to neighboring states like New Jersey.
According to Governor Cuomo, the addition of mobile betting would ‘strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.” The change of tune comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed the finances of the state. Officials are trying to find new ways to bring in revenues to fill a budget gap in the multi-billion-dollar range.
This week, the Governor showed his support for the mobile option and stating that the new structure would incentivize a large segment of residents in the state who wager out of state or use black markets to stop, keeping the money in New York.
Softening His Stance on Online Wagering
It was in December that we got a first look at Governor Cuomo softening his stance regarding online sports betting. During a press conference, the governor raised the question as to if there are other ways to raise revenues, such as with marijuana or mobile sports betting.
For some time now, the Governor has been reluctant to raise taxes in the state to bring in funds, as officials wait to see if the federal government will aid states. With this new measure, it would bring in an additional revenue source while waiting for any help from Washington.
In the past, Governor Cuomo has argued that a new constitutional amendment would be required to allow online betting. With this new proposal, operators would need to be approved for licensing by the state and then have a licensed gaming facility as a partner. This format is like legislation from 2020 that suggested servers be placed in upstate casinos for online betting via physical sportsbooks that were already approved for operations. This would work based on the current gambling regulations in the state.
The proposal would put the State Gaming Commission in charge. The group would be able to request proposals from operators to offer mobile wagering. Existing integrity programs would also be expanded to ensure that any operator offering mobile apps for betting would have the proper safeguards in place against addiction and abuse.
New Jersey Benefitting from NY Bettors
For quite some time, New Jersey has benefited from sports bets placed by New York residents. Individuals can easily travel to the neighboring state to wager online. In early 2020, a report showed just how much the Garden State was benefiting from the NY residents. Since launching in June 2018, New Jersey has accepted over $4 million in wagers, by January 2020. Of that number, 80% of bets were made via mobile.
Reports surfaced at the time that showed New Yorkers were traveling a short distance via commuter trains to be able to place bets in Jersey City, Hoboken, and Newark. Trips allowed players to reach online sports betting sites due to their location. All states that offer any type of online wagering in the US require bettors to be located inside their borders. Geolocation software is used to determine one’s location.
The hope is now, for New York, that residents will no longer travel to nearby New Jersey and instead place bets with operators in their state. It is unclear just how much could be earned from mobile betting, but right now, any extra money will help to benefit the state as they continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.