Distribution Of NY Sports Betting Taxes To Youth Programs Improving


When online sports betting was passed in New York, a portion of the tax dollars was dedicated to youth sports. The money would provide badly needed funding to organizations that many times struggle financially.

Many of the programs provide a safe environment for underserved kids to learn skills they can use throughout their lives while staying out of trouble.

Despite good intentions, though, the process of getting the funds to the youth programs was flawed out of the gate. Thankfully, the system has improved in the last year.

Some program leaders didn’t know money was available

There are a plethora of NY sports betting apps available to players. The state taxes operators a whopping 51% on adjusted gross revenue from sports bets. Tax money is distributed to several services and organizations in The Empire State.

In July, New York online sports betting fell under the $1 billion threshold for the first time in 2023. But July is also one of the slowest sports months of the year. There is no denying just how strong the New York sports betting market is. More money is bet on sports in New York than in any other state.

Even so, many youth sports program leaders in New York did not even know that money generated from online sports wagering was available to them.

When mobile sports betting legislation was passed in New York, it included 1% of taxes going to youth sports groups in the first fiscal year. That moved to $5 million a year for every year following. While the funds were there, many leaders didn’t know how to access them.

Deon Rodgers, president of the volunteer-based nonprofit River Flow Soccer Club, was one of those who had no idea of the funds.

“I had no idea about this. We would love to apply. Every year we’re in the red and never have we turned a kid away. We are a bare-bones budget, sometimes pulling money out of our own pockets to pay for kids.”

Lawmaker who pushed for distribution says more must be done

Democratic Assembly member Monica Wallace, who is from Erie County, was one lawmaker who fought to include youth sports funding into the mobile sports betting legislation in New York. Despite her leading the charge, she realizes more work needs to be done.

“To be honest, I’ve been having conversations about whether we can try to do more to ensure that the money goes to what I personally had intended in passing this legislation.”

The most important step forward is to get everyone on the same page. Then, make sure that all leaders of youth sports programs are told how to receive the funds meant for them.

Tony Jordan, director of the county Youth Bureau, said he acknowledged that getting information out to programs that need funding must improve.

“We’re going to re-issue that request for proposals, and we’ll do a really good job of getting the word out. I’m confident that we will have a better response to it.”

Youth sports are receiving more funds in 2023

In 2022, more than 40% of all available youth sports funds from mobile sports betting went to just three counties: New York City, Nassau County and Suffolk County. That’s despite 55 other counties having access to the same funds. Of course, all counties are not equal in population or needs, but the lack of awareness was clear.

In 2023, those numbers have improved greatly.

Not only has the total amount distributed nearly quadrupled – from just over $1 million to $3.75 million – but the distribution of funds was more balanced. In 2022, only three counties received at least $50,000 in funds for youth sports. In 2023, 11 counties saw at least $50,000 put toward youth sports.

The best indicator for growth was that every single one of the 58 counties saw an increase in funds dedicated to youth sports. Not a single county saw its money for youth sports fall from 2022 to 2023.

Here are the three counties that received the most funds for youth sports in 2023:

  1. New York City: $1.38 million
  2. Suffolk County: $260,616
  3. Nassau County: $241,503
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