Further delays in legalizing sports betting in New York will see millions of dollars in lost tax revenues leak across the border into New Jersey, NY state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. said in a recent interview for Legal Sports Report.
The state senator, who is the driving force behind legislation to allow mobile wagers in New York, believes legalizing online sportsbooks would unlock at least $90 million in taxed proceeds a year that could go directly into educational funding and job growth.
The comments from Addabbo before he shares insight on the state’s vision for legalization when he speaks at next month’s Sports Betting USA conference in New York City.
New York’s loss is NJ’s gain
The bill passed the Senate earlier this year and Addabbo is now pushing for the policy to be adopted in the next budget after it missed out in this year’s legislative session. And with local bettors currently forced to turn to the licensed jurisdiction of neighboring New Jersey to place their wagers instead, Addabbo has warned that slow progress when it comes to legalization is costing New York money that could be used effectively in social policy.
“New Jersey sportsbooks handled a record $446 million in bets in September – and with estimates that 25 percent of that amount came from New York bettors, we’re missing out on a huge chunk of revenue which could be benefitting our students and citizens,” said Addabbo.
New Jersey made history back in May when it became the first state to see more sports wagers than Nevada. According to the latest figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, September revenues marked a 59 percent year-on-year increase and more than a 50 percent spike on last month thanks to the start of the NFL season.
The senator emphasized he “will not sit on the sidelines” and watch money which could be benefitting New Yorkers flood into competitor markets. “We plan to make a strong argument to include mobile sports betting in the adopted 2020-2021 budget,” he said.
Already sports betting in NY but …
New York sportsbooks already exist at commercial and tribal casinos upstate, provoking calls to improve accessibility in the state. Addabbo’s legislation would expand the channels through which wagers can be accepted, with additional venues including horse racetracks, off-track-betting locations and casinos being considered as an alternative way of growing sports betting in the state.
But the proposals have prompted concerns over the potential social impact. Addabbo hopes to implement a revenue source for educational funding and social programs, including those that address problem gambling, to simultaneously address potential harm, satisfy constitutional requirements and credibly develop a gaming industry plan that maximizes potential.
His policies reflect those implemented in Europe and other state frameworks.
“To fully realize the potential of sports betting, it must be accessible throughout the state, in multiple venues,” Addabbo said. “Our legislative language includes racetracks, OTBs, stadiums and arenas.”
Sports betting tourism?
Given New York’s strong economic foundation, geographic location and historic relation to the sports industry, Addabbo has high hopes for the market’s prospects. And he has a secret weapon that would provide New York with an edge on its competitors: tourism.
Few states receive the footfall of tourists as that of New York City, and the ability to place bets on landmark events from the NFL to the NBA and MLB should increase attendance at stadiums – not only from local fans but also international visitors.
“The way I see it is sports betting is a form of entertainment that will synergize with New York’s large tourism industry,” he said.
Gambling study on the way in NY
However, proving that New Yorkers themselves have a big appetite for mobile sports betting is Addabbo’s next challenge. The NY State Gaming Commission will release a study in 2020 looking at the potential market for expanding sports wagering to video lottery terminal and off-track sports betting facilities, inclusive to the fiscal, economic and social impact of legalizing online gaming.
Depending on the outcome, the study could serve as persuasive evidence for the passing of Addabbo’s legislation.
The senator is a firm believer that once maximized, sports betting would increase fan interest and attendance in New York sports teams. The ability to place mobile wagers would also have a direct positive impact on general gaming, including horse racing throughout the state, which would likely prove as a catalyst for other facilities.
With a host of sportsbook providers and suppliers waiting in the wings, Addabbo expects the market will move in fast if the legislation is given the green light.
“It depends on how quickly the state wants to move, but I can see racetracks really taking off and providing a springboard for dramatic expansion in all betting and gaming aspects within the next three years,” Addabbo said.
Addabbo will be giving the keynote presentation at Sports Betting USA, which takes place Nov. 5-6 at the Metropolitan West and follows a one-day investor summit, promising attendees three days of insight into the emerging US sports gambling industry.