Included in the state budget announced on April 6 is the authorization of mobile sports betting in New York state. The Governor’s Office estimates that the program will provide more than $500 million in annual revenue when fully phased in.
The expectation is that it will supply much-needed revenue following the year-long economic shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuomo said during a post-budget press conference on April 7 that the current state law allows the state to directly operate mobile sports betting. “So the $500 million will go to the state, rather than a lot of middle men who operate mobile sports betting, which is what many other states have done,” Cuomo said.
“This is like the state lottery where we operate it and we get the resources. The law does not authorize any new casinos. I am opposed to any casino authorization plan that is subject to politics. We have a Gaming Commission that makes the decision on the merits. There’s a lot of money involved in casinos. There’s a lot of lobbyists, there’s a lot of political contributions and I want to make sure that any decision that is made is made purely on the merits and I’ll have nothing to do with a casino plan that can be politicized.”
The state will issue a Request for Applications under the legislation and must choose at least two platform providers. The program will provide $5 million annually to youth sports and $6 million to combat problem gambling once fully phased in. This doubles the resources that are currently available and the remainder of the new revenue will be dedicated to education.
“This is a win-win for New York State taxpayers. After years of fighting for mobile sports betting, I take great pride in its becoming a reality,” said Gary Greenberg, a minority owner of the Vernon Downs racetrack. “The governor’s plan will bring in $500 million in revenue to New York that is currently going to other states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. These states have had mobile sports betting since 2017.”
This news comes after years of opposition by Gov. Andrew Cuomo towards mobile sports betting being introduced in the state. Back in 2019, Cuomo was quoted saying that “sports betting, first of all, does not make you that much money.” That stance changed after the pandemic and Cuomo saw an opportunity to take advantage of an untapped market.
“Rivers Casino is excited about the prospects of mobile sports betting and appreciate Governor Cuomo and the legislature’s commitment to growing New York’s gaming economy,” said Greg Carlin, co-founder and chief executive officer of Rush Street Interactive, which owns Rivers Casino in Schenectady. “There is tremendous consumer demand for mobile sports betting in New York and its future success could provide more than $500 million in tax revenue which will be used to support education, responsible gaming and youth sports.”