New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested sports betting could be a way to help NY raise new revenue as the state faces a shortfall of funds for its budget.
“Are there other ways to get revenue? How about marijuana? How about sports betting?” Cuomo said in a televised briefing that also talked about the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can watch the briefing here; Cuomo mentions sports betting just before the 27-minute mark.
It was far from a full-throated endorsement of online betting. But Cuomo has said in the past that he opposed the legalization of NY online sports betting because he believed it would require a constitutional amendment. The mention of sports betting in this setting might indicate that Cuomo has relaxed that stance.
New York already has sports betting at physical casinos, but no statewide online betting.
Cuomo put forth two possibilities in the address: Doing a budget in the coming days, or to wait till the spring when New York might know if it will be getting funds from the federal government to help with its revenue shortfall.
He said the latter was his preference. But that still might presage sports betting being included in a budget package in 2021.
New York has a big deficit
New York State is more than $50 billion in debt between state and local governments, Cuomo said in October.
And there may be no relief for states from the federal government via stimulus, according to a report today from Politico.
That may force Cuomo’s hand on sports betting.
The governor has long been the biggest roadblock to NY mobile sports betting, despite several lawmakers supporting the industry.
Following Cumo’s comments, Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. told LSR that Q1 2021 was the most likely time to get any legislation done.
“We’re running out of time for this year so now we look at next year but I can’t see us waiting until the April budget,” Addabbo said.
“I’d love for something to happen before the 31st. I’m just not so optimistic about it.”
Sports betting is an easy source of revenue
The financial case is clear. Neighboring New Jersey just made $50.6 million in sports betting revenue in November alone.
That shook out to $6.2 million in taxes paid to the state. And analysts think close to 20% of New Jersey’s betting handle comes from New Yorkers crossing the border to bet.
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimate New York bettors wagered $837 million in New Jersey last year.