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New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo set to back mobile sports betting legalization

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo set to back mobile sports betting legalization

New York state governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday that he would make legalizing online sports betting a key part of his policy proposals when he makes his State of the State address next week.

The news comes as neighboring New Jersey generated billions in revenue last year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In November, NJ residents placed around $931 million worth of bets, which broke the record for the fourth consecutive month, and brought the year-to-date total to over $5 billion. Around 93.6 percent of those November bets were placed using a mobile device.

As a result, New Jersey collected more than $30 million in taxes on mobile sports betting in November, which saw the overall total for 2020 rise to $268.8 million.

Cuomo said in a statement to the New York Daily News that New York “has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States.”

He went on to add that by legalizing mobile sports wagering, the state would be able to “keep millions of dollars in tax revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild” from the coronavirus pandemic.

A change in attitude

Cuomo has a long history of suppressing the idea of legalizing sports wagering in New York, even with the record amounts of revenue in New Jersey. But with the state economy devastated by COVID-19, the governor appears to have shifted his stance.

He said: “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.”

That is no exaggeration, as a gaming report by Eilers & Krejcik last year determined that New York residents wagered $837 million in New Jersey in 2019.

New York state senator Joe Addabbo has long pushed for a discussion on legal sports wagering, particularly mobile betting which draws the majority of betting. Any proposal for the legalization of online sports betting would state that mobile sports betting operators must be licensed in the state.

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Last updated: Thu 7th January 2021