New York Gov. Cuomo embraces mobile sports betting to boost revenue crushed by pandemic


After watching New Jersey turn into America’s new sports betting capital this fall, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ready to embrace mobile betting as a way to generate much-needed revenue for the state amid the pandemic.

Driving the news: In a statement to the New York Daily News, Cuomo said he will make mobile sports betting a central part of his policy proposals to be laid out in next week’s State of the State address.

“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.”

Between the lines: Cuomo says he wants to run sports betting through the state lottery, as opposed to casinos. “I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state,” he said.

  • This approach has proved “disastrous” in places like Washington, D.C., which has struggled to generate revenue, writes Action Network’s Darren Rovell.
  • “A lottery model means only one sportsbook would operate, leading to less competition, worse pricing for consumers and little to no innovation.”

The backdrop: New York has been losing out on sports betting revenue for years, as residents travel across the border to place bets in New Jersey, turning the state’s train stations into gambling hubs.

  • Wild stat No. 1: An estimated $837 million was bet in New Jersey by New Yorkers in 2019, accounting for roughly 20% of the Garden State’s wagering.
  • Wild stat No. 2: New Jersey will approach $6 billion in handle for 2020 — and that’s with no March Madness and a four-month sports outage. Once New York gets on board, it could do even bigger numbers — and fast.

Looking ahead: “New York, with a population of nearly 20 million, dwarfs any other state with legal betting and should have no problem regularly topping $1 billion a month in wagers,” says industry analyst and former American Gaming Association official Sara Slane.