A quick remark by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during a televised briefing earlier this week has brought new attention to the legalization of online sports betting in the Empire State.
During the briefing, while discussing New York’s increasing debt Cuomo quipped, “Are there other ways to get revenue? How about marijuana? How about sports betting?”
That’s far from a ringing endorsement for sports betting from the Governor, but it does differ from the previous stance he’s taken on the issue. Cuomo has previously opposed legalizing online sports betting because he believes it will take a constitutional amendment.
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Sports betting is already legal in New York, but only in-person at casinos. State-wide online sports betting remains illegal in the state. Later in the briefing Cuomo delivered two possible scenarios; a budget being passed sometime in the coming week, or the state could until spring to see if any money from the federal government could help with revenue shortfalls. Whichever budget option gets the go-ahead it will be interesting to see if dollars from online sports betting are included.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic New York’s deficit has ballooned to more than $50 billion. If no relief comes from the federal government Cuomo and state legislators may be forced to turn to other revenue options, such as online sports betting.
New York only has to look next door to New Jersey to see the revenue potential online sports betting can offer. Last month in November New Jersey set a record with $50.5 million in revenue from sports betting. That led to $6.2 million in taxes going to the state coffers. Estimates believe that nearly 20 percent of New Jersey’s sports betting take comes from bets made by New York residents crossing into New Jersey to take advantage of the ease of online betting.
With time running out in 2020, the earliest online sports betting could be legalized in New York is the first quarter of 2021.