ny online sports betting

Governor Andrew Cuomo is digging his heels in on a plan for a single-platform model for online sports betting in NY.

Danny Small

Trying to keep up with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stance on NY online sports betting can be confusing, but there is one important point to note: Mobile sports betting is coming to New York.

In his budget address on Tuesday morning, Gov. Cuomo discussed online sports betting in NY and how it can help address some of the budget shortfalls that the state is facing in the upcoming year.

“Mobile sports betting we think could raise $500 million,” Gov. Cuomo explained. “Many states have done it. Here the question is not really whether or not we do mobile sports betting. The question is how?”

After we acknowledge that fact, things start to get murky. A press release from last week hinted at Gov. Cuomo’s willingness to back off plans for a single-platform model in the state, he chose to double down on this plan. That could leave plenty of stakeholders out in the cold.

“Who makes the profit? And this is very lucrative. One proposal is we allow casinos to run mobile sports betting. That’s very good for casinos and the people who support casinos,” Gov. Cuomo claimed.

“The second alternative is to have the people of the state of New York actually get the profits from mobile sports betting. And run it the way we run the state lottery which is it’s state-run and the state gets all the revenue. I’m with the people and I believe the people of the state should get the revenues. This is not a moneymaker for private interests to collect just more tax revenue. We want the actual revenue.”

Gov. Cuomo is referencing legislation in the State Senate and Assembly that would allow for up to 14 online sports betting operators in NY. Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. pushed his bill through the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee on Tuesday morning in advance of Gov. Cuomo’s budget address.

There is a disagreement between Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers on the proper path to take with online sports betting in NY. Gov. Cuomo wants to maximize revenue through a single-source model, but state lawmakers argue that raising a larger tent to include more stakeholders would result in more jobs in addition to increased revenue.

Unfortunately, Gov. Cuomo’s insistence on a single-platform model still offers more questions than answers. First off, one obvious loser in this scenario is the individual bettor in New York. This plan takes away all consumer choice for the average New Yorker. It would undoubtedly result in bettors going to New Jersey for more options, using offshore books, or illegal bookies.

One of a few major online sportsbooks would be the likely operator in a single-source platform, but the lack of options is still concerning. Sure, DraftKings or FanDuel — two of the most likely operators in a single-source model — are fantastic options for bettors, but they would be the only option in New York.

Individuals are unlikely to have the means to challenge Gov. Cuomo’s plan, but there are stakeholders who could threaten litigation. Casinos and the horse racing industry represent two potential plaintiffs.

This back and forth between Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers is far from over. NYS Director of the Budget Robert Mujica is going to give a more detailed look at the proposed budget Tuesday afternoon.

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