NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: A Blackhawk helicopter flown by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), flies past the Empire State Building in Manhattan in route to the MetLife Stadium on January 28, 2014 in New York City. The CBP aircraft flown by
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Online sports betting in NY has the potential to bring in enormous amounts of tax revenue, but the plan forward is still unclear.

Danny Small

Governor Andrew Cuomo and state leadership finally appear to be ready to pursue online sports betting in NY. This was a long time coming and there are still plenty of questions to answer, but there is one thing for certain — New Yorkers have a sizable appetite for sports wagering. Gov. Cuomo understands this and he sees mobile sports betting as a way to help provide an influx of tax revenue to the state’s coffers.

“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,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.

Make no mistake about it — New York has the potential to make history when it comes to sports betting. New York is the fourth-most populous state in the country and it will be the first of those four states to legalize online sports betting. The potential for massive amounts of taxable revenue is right there for the taking.

Gambling trade publication VIXIO is projecting a sizable $12.5 billion in total handle and $969 million in taxable revenue by 2025 for the Empire State per David Purdum of ESPN. For reference, New Jersey is projected to hit $6 billion in total handle for 2020.

When New York finally legalizes mobile sports betting, New Jersey will likely see its overall number take a significant hit. In 2019 alone, New Yorkers wagered an estimated $837 million in New Jersey per a report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

With all this said, we still don’t know exactly how Gov. Cuomo hopes to set up mobile sports betting. He hinted at running it through the New York Lottery, but the specifics of that plan are murky.

“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.”

Following the kinds of lottery models that Oregon, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island use could change the outlook on these 2025 projections. But again, there is still so much uncertainty out there right now.