January 9, 2021 | 5:00 am
Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, will give his government report next week. In it, he will try to establish policies that help his state to recover from the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these policies is focused on an activity that his government had rejected and that now stands as one of the central elements for a potential recovery: online sports betting.
“New York has the potential to become the largest gambling market in America, and legalizing online gambling will allow us to keep millions of dollars of winnings right here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild after the COVID-19 crisis, ”Cuomo told the New York Daily News.
Cuomo had been reluctant to legalize online gambling, but the change in his stance could have been triggered by the rapid growth of the digital gambling market in New Jersey, a state neighboring New York.
New Jersey will report bets close to $ 6 billion in 2020, which will translate into more than $ 300 million in profits for businesses and nearly $ 40 million in taxes for the state. This occurred even with a break of almost four months in sports activities due to social distancing measures and without March madness, the most important tournament for betting in the United States.
An industry survey revealed that 20% of these profits came from New Yorkers crossing the border to gamble, representing $ 837 million in 2019.
Cuomo repeatedly rejected the legalization of digital gambling, arguing that its approval would require an amendment to the state constitution. However, last month his stance seemed to soften in the face of the difficult economic situation in his state.
“Is there another way to make a profit? How about marijuana? How about sports betting? ”Cuomo said during a news conference last month.
“New York lawmakers introduced a couple of online gambling bills yesterday, one in the assembly and one in the Senate. They are very different than Governor Cuomo’s proposal for a single operator. Things are going to get interesting in Albany, ”posted on Twitter by gaming journalist Ryan Butler.
New York lawmakers introduced a pair of identical online sports betting bills yesterday, one each in the Assembly and Senate. They are very different than Gov. Cuomo’s single-source operator proposal. Things are going to be very interesting in Albany.
– Ryan Butler (@ButlerBets) January 8, 2021
The new project promoted by legislators includes a figure of mixed permits for physical betting facilities and online betting operation. According to digital betting promoters, this alternative is feasible within the current legislature.
The gambling market in New York is much more attractive than that of New Jersey due to the number of tourists that visit the city each year, as well as the prestige that operators could achieve with physical branches in important points such as Manhattan or Soho, which which could translate to higher profits than seen in the neighboring state.
However, Cuomo is partial to the possibility that it is the state lottery, and not the casinos, that operates the betting. “I’m not here to increase casino profits,” the governor has said in the past.
This model has negatively impacted bettors in Washington DC, who have suffered from high fees, bad odds and little innovation due to a lack of competition. The state has not benefited immediately either, and has suffered to generate profits.
The approval of eventual permits will also depend on the establishment of a regulatory framework for applications to implement anti-fraud measures, as well as measures against abuse and addiction to gambling.