Andrew Cuomo and NY Sports Betting

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo is now in favor of legalizing mobile sports betting in New York.
  • The financial losses during the COVID-19 shutdowns have caused Cuomo to reconsider his stance against online sports betting.
  • New Jersey saw record-breaking numbers for mobile sports betting.

ALBANY, N.Y. – Regulated mobile sports betting in New York is headed in a positive direction after Governor Andrew Cuomo changed his tone on the matter.

As Cuomo initially was opposed to mobile and online sports betting in the Empire State, the COVID-19 pandemic and the record-breaking sports betting revenue New Jersey has seen has motivated the governor to bring online sportsbooks to New York.

But, the issue of who gets to regulate the online sports betting market is still up in the air as Cuomo has given two different stances on the subject.

In a press release, the Governor’s office announced that the New York State Gaming Commission would oversee the online sportsbooks. Those online sportsbooks would then have to partner with one of the four commercial casinos in the state.

However, Cuomo has also publically stated that he wants a similar setup to the state lottery in an attempt to keep the added revenue from mobile sportsbooks in New York in the state’s hands and not the casinos.

Mobile Betting In New York

While Cuomo is now on board for mobile sports betting, the question is now how it would look in New York.

Initially, the idea was for land-based sportsbooks to run the online sports betting market. This is a similar practice to other sports betting markets as the retail sports betting operator would oversee their own mobile betting providers.

This process would make for a seamless transition to online, as these casinos already have sports betting licenses which would make applying for an online license easier as the legislative approvals would already be there.

“At a time when New York faces a historic budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current online sports wagering structure incentivizes a large segment of New York residents to travel out of state to make online sports wagers or continue to patronize black markets,” said Cuomo. “New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States, and by legalizing online sports betting we aim to keep millions of dollars in revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Cuomo has since objected to having retail books run online sports betting, pushing for the state to run the new mobile sports betting market like the state runs the lottery.

The Governor’s goal is to add revenue directly to the state, therefore cutting out the middle man and having the state lottery back the entire system.

“We want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery where the state gets the revenues,” said Cuomo. “Many states have done sports betting, but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos, but it makes minimal money for the state and I’m not here to give the casinos a lot of money.”

While the idea of having the revenue go directly to New York and cutting out the middle man may seem like a good idea, when looking at other sports betting markets it may not be the best choice.

What Lawmakers Will Be Discussing

New York’s neighbor and rival sports betting market in New Jersey has seen major success with its sports betting market while having online sportsbooks tether to retail casinos and gaming operators.

With major sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings offering remote sign up in the Garden State, Jersey has seen upwards of $930 million wagered on sports in a given month with millions in state revenue consecutively.

Comparatively, Washington D.C. has suffered in its mobile betting market. The Nation’s Capital has only one truly mobile sportsbook available in GambetDC and the online sportsbook has seemingly not resonated with local bettors.

On the other hand, the William Hill land-based sportsbook makes more money, all while being at a temporary location at the Capital One Arena. While mobile and online sports betting has proven to be more popular in the US, this only has applied for states with multiple mobile sportsbooks.

A single operator model risks giving the online sportsbook monopoly power. This would allow the sportsbook to overcharge in their odds prices and in many cases discourages sports bettors from using the sportsbook at all.

In addition, major players like DraftKings and FanDuel are available in New Jersey. Should New York only allow one sportsbook to be operational, it is possible that local bettors will continue to wager across the bridge.

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