Plot Twist: Cuomo Wants Lottery To Run New York Online Sports Betting

Following earlier remarks that indicated  Governor Andrew Cuomo’s intent to support mobile sports betting in New York, a new twist has emerged. Cuomo’s office issued a release further detailing the Governor’s plans for mobile sports betting. There’s one big catch: Cuomo wants a Lottery-run sportsbook monopoly. 

“Under Governor Cuomo’s proposal,” reads the statement, “the New York State Gaming Commission will issue a request for proposals to select and license a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports wagering in New York. This operator or platform must have a partnership with one of the existing licensed commercial casinos.”

Simply put, this means Cuomo wants one sports betting operator. This model is best likened to Delaware, where sports betting and online casinos are all operated by 888 Holdings. 

Revenue A Key Driver

Cuomo’s reasoning for a single-operator Lottery-based sports betting model is revenue. 

“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,” Governor 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 revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.” 

But Cuomo doesn’t want all the potential revenue to go to casinos. He made this much clear in a press conference, according to WKBW Buffalo. “I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money, I’m here to raise funds for the state,” said Cuomo. 

Impact On Sports Bettors

Should New York move forward with Cuomo’s desired model, sports bettors would have a single platform to bet on. At best, the selected operator might be able to launch multiple skins of the same sportsbook with the functionality remaining the same. 

Any move toward legal sports betting is a good one for the potentially massive New York market. But to many, this model is limiting. 

For players, this means only one sports betting option. The Lottery’s partner could set its own odds and promotions without fear of much competition. For operators, it paints a stark picture: either win the contract or stay out of New York. 

The New Jersey Effect

New Jersey siphons its fair share of business from New York, drawing about 20% of sports betting revenue from bettors in the neighboring Empire State. 

If Cuomo’s desired model comes to fruition, it spells good news for New Jersey. Operators in the state could still market to New Yorkers who want an option that isn’t partnered with New York’s Lottery. And if revenue is Cuomo’s chief concern when it comes to sports betting in New York, the impact of New Jersey should be first on his list of worries. 

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