Less than a month after he floated the idea as a response to budgetary shortfalls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is prepared to commit to online sports betting in New York. According to Denis Slattery of the New York Daily News, Cuomo will reportedly be centering this topic among his policy proposals in the upcoming State of the State address that will be given later in January.
"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," the New York governor said in a statement.
While the projected $15 billion shortfall is certainly one part of the inspiration behind this push from a politician who has been reluctant to do so in the past, seeing how much it has benefitted the state's next door neighbor in New Jersey has probably helped a bit as well. New Jersey's sports betting has been through the roof, with the state generating $50 million in revenue during the month of November alone -- 20 percent of which came from New Yorkers, per a recent industry survey.
New York does have legalized sports gambling, but wagers can only be done in-person at the casinos throughout the state. Since that was legalized in July 2019, only $14 million has been generated in revenue, which is due in part to how most are located in rural regions of the state, hours away from New York City.
"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," Cuomo said.