New York’s Governor Cuomo Suggests He Is Open for Online Sports Betting Legalization

Al Walsh

New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo has suggested the introduction of online sports betting in the state to help with the strained revenue. The state is facing a shortage in revenue budget, explaining the governor’s sudden change of heart about sports betting. During a televised briefing, Cuomo asked several rhetorical questions, including other ways to get revenue for the state.

He mentioned marijuana and sports betting as some of the options that could be used to collect the needed revenue. The governor also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic. The suggestion about the legalization of sports betting came up before the 27th minute of his briefing. You can still watch the briefing already circulating on the internet.

However, his suggestion was not a full-throated supports for online gambling. Remember, Cuomo has in the past opposed legalization of online sports gambling in New York. The governor opposes the move because he believes it would require a constitutional amendment. However, Cuomo mentioning sports betting comes as a surprise and a sign that he is open to accept sports wagering.

Already, New York allows sports betting in various land-based casinos. But, there is no online sports betting. During Cuomo’s briefing, he suggested two possibilities for addressing limited revenue in the state. He said New York could wait until spring for the federal government to release relief funds or include sports betting in its budget to cover the revenue shortfall. However, Cuomo preferred the first option. Still, the state might have sports betting in its budget package in 2021.

New York Is Suffering from a Huge Budget Deficit

New York State owes several other states and local governments more than $50 billion. This is according to a statement Cuomo game back in October 2020. According to a Politico report on December 16, 2020, the federal government might not provide relief funds for various states. This leaves Cuomo with only one option, to go the online sports gambling way. The governor has been the sole person that has been against Ney York online sports gambling, while most other lawmakers have been supporting the move to legalize.

However, this might change from 2021. According to Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr, the state legislature was likely to introduce a bill within the first quarter of 2021. The senator was talking to Action Network and commented that the legislature had to do something about the process of legalization by December 21, 2020, if the state had to do anything about it. However, time is running out, and the lawmakers might have to wait until April next year.

Online Sports Betting Might Generate the Revenue the State Needs

One of NY’s neighbors, New Jersey, generated over $50.6 million from sports gambling revenue. That gave the government $6.2 million in taxes. The amount could be high because 20 percent of new Yorkers are crossing to New Jersey to bet on online sports betting. According to research by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, New York punters wagered over $837 million in New Jersey in 2019.

This amount could be more in 2020, mainly because most residents spend more time at home, giving them room to try the most accessible gaming. If NY permitted mobile betting, it would get the revenue going outside the boundaries and much more.