ny online sports betting
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Governor Andrew Cuomo reverses stance on NY online sports betting after years of opposition to the measure.

Danny Small

Sports bettors in New York rejoice. Governor Andrew Cuomo is finally making online sports betting in NY a priority in 2021. The economic hardship that the state is facing needs to be addressed one way or another. Clearly, Gov. Cuomo feels like mobile sports betting can be one of those ways.

“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,” Cuomo said in a statement.

This is the biggest endorsement that Cuomo has given to online sports betting, but it became apparent in December that he was softening his stance on the matter. In a COVID-19 briefing, Cuomo referenced marijuana and mobile sports betting as two potential ways to address the deficit New York is facing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Are there other ways to get revenue? How about marijuana? How about sports betting?” Cuomo said.

With Cuomo’s backing, NY online sports betting is a slam dunk. The state legislature has long had the support to pass legislation but was unable to push forward without the blessing of the Governor and Speaker Carl Heastie. Following Cuomo’s change of heart, it’s now a matter of “when” not “if.”

What Will NY Online Sports Betting Look Like?

“We want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery where the state gets the revenues,” Cuomo said in his Wednesday press conference. “Many states have done sports betting but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos but it makes minimal money for the state.

“And I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state. So we have a different model for sports betting.”

When mobile sports betting goes live in the Empire State, it’s going to look much different than most other states. Cuomo plans to run online sports betting through the New York Lottery as opposed to letting casinos and sportsbooks run the show.

Oregon uses a similar model and there is only one place to make online sports bets — Scoreboard. The rationale behind using the lottery for sports betting is to keep the revenue generated in the hands of the government.

This could potentially shut out major operators like DraftKings and FanDuel. Not to mention, it will leave New Yorkers with one betting option as opposed to several different sportsbooks to choose from.

With all that said, Cuomo and NYS Director of the Budget Robert Mujica did not delve too deep into the nitty-gritty details of their plan for sports betting.

What Does NJ’s Sports Betting Handle Mean For NY?

Trying to figure out how much money New York is losing out to New Jersey via sports betting is not an exact science, but it’s more than just a bunch of numbers in the air. A report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimates that $837 million went from NY to NJ in 2019.

After factoring in the money that is wagered on illegal black markets, it’s not crazy to assume that New Yorkers are wagering upwards of $1 billion on sports each and every year. Unfortunately, NY is not reaping any of the benefits of this action.

Anyone who has paid attention to the industry knows that sports betting is only going to continue to grow. Professional leagues are embracing gambling, legalization is sweeping across the country, and casual fans are becoming more in-tune with sports betting.

It’s time for New York to get in on the action and take advantage of this massive opportunity.

How Soon Can We Expect NY Online Sports Betting?

Just a few months earlier, the most optimistic timeline for NY online sports betting was the Super Bowl or March Madness. However, with the calendar already turning to 2021, that’s likely too quick of a turnaround.

Users won’t be able to download DraftKings or FanDuel and immediately begin playing the moment legislation passes. Setting up the rules and regulations takes months. At this point in time, New Yorkers can expect to see a full-scale launch of online sports betting by the start of the 2021 NFL season.

It’s certainly possible to expect a launch before September, but the NFL is king when it comes to sports betting. If going live by the Super Bowl is impossible (it seems highly unlikely at this point), it would make sense to have everything up and running by September at the latest.

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