New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a vocal opponent of mobile sports betting, has finally changed his tune. In a statement to the Daily News, Cuomo walked back his previous opposition to mobile sports betting and indicated that next week’s State of the State address will include policy proposals for online sportsbooks in New York.
In his statement to Daily News, Cuomo said: “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.”
A Huge Development
In 2020, Cuomo represented one of the Empire State’s biggest online sportsbook hurdles. NY Sports Day interviewed State Senator Joseph Addabbo in October 2020. At the time, Addabbo seemed cautiously optimistic about mobile sports betting’s prospect in New York.
Senator Addabbo cited, among other things, revenue loss to neighboring New Jersey as a key reason for New York to legalize online sports betting. The Garden State is a hotbed for mobile betting, providing an easy trip across the border for New Yorkers looking to place a bet. Some estimates say 20% of New Jersey’s sports betting revenue comes from New York bettors. Pennsylvania, to a lesser extent, also siphons revenue from New York.
In the months since our interview with Senator Addabbo, little has changed about the New York sports betting landscape. But now, with Cuomo’s backing, a mobile sports betting bill would stand a very real chance of becoming law.
What Comes Next?
Right now, it’s up to New York legislators to put forth a bill that would legalize online and mobile sports betting in the state. NY Sports Day interviewed Senator Joseph Addabbo again in December 2020. Not much happened legislatively speaking toward the end of the year, but the first quarter of 2021 could bring sweeping changes in New York. Current budget talks (which must end by April) include sports betting as part of a revenue bill. But on the heels of Cuomo’s comments, it’s entirely possible New York lawmakers could branch out to create a bill specifically allowing for mobile sports betting.
At this point, it’s a waiting game. But Cuomo’s comments bode well for the Empire State’s future. If New York sports betting is formally legalized in early 2021, we could see online sportsbooks pop up by the end of the year or in early 2022.