As New York attempts to claw its way out of the financial hole created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo voiced his support of the state legalizing online sports betting to provide a shot in the arm to the economy.
“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 tax revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis,” Cuomo said in a statement. “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.”
The backing of sports gambling is quite a substantial pivot by Cuomo, once a staunch opposer of the idea. He is now expected to make a push for it at next week’s State of the State address.
Any question of this providing a resurgence for the economy can be answered by neighboring New Jersey, which legalized sports betting in 2018. According to Reuters, New Jersey saw a total of $931.6 million wagered in November. Sportsbooks themselves recorded $50.6 million in revenue and $6.2 million in taxes.
Considering New York is the largest sports market in the world with eight professional “Big 4” teams in the New York City area and an additional two up in Buffalo, millions of sports fans will now be able to wager legally on their favorite teams and players. They were already trying to work around the lack of sports betting avenues in the state as an estimated 20% of New Jersey’s sports betting revenue came from New Yorkers cross the Hudson to place their bets.