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Governor Cuomo is switching his bet. Previously the Governor had opposed mobile sports betting. He is now gambling on this to help close the state’s reported 63 billion budget gap from misspending, poor planning and the pandemic crisis.
He made it clear that the State and not the casinos will be the primary beneficiary of this calculated risk. “We want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery where the state gets the revenues. 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 give the casinos a lot of money.”
His plan is to issue a request for proposals to operate mobile sports betting. The operator must have a partnership with one of the four upstate casinos.
Those casinos are: Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, Rivers Casino in Schenectady, del Lago Casino in Tyre near Rochester and Tioga Downs near Binghamton.
These casinos opened sportsbooks in 2019, one year after a Supreme Court ruling that ended a federal prohibition on sports wagering. While in-person bets are permitted, the state does not allow mobile betting.
Legislative leaders Sen. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) both have thrown their weight in support of this endeavor.
“We need to create new revenue streams by legalizing mobile sports betting and marijuana,” state Stewart-Cousins said during her inaugural address Wednesday on the floor of the state Senate, marking the first day of the 2021 legislative session.
“The way the governor is proposing it . . .the state could get up to $500 million dollars a year instead of $50 [million] and that money would then go to the state budget,” state Budget Director Robert Mujica explained during the remote briefing.
Mujica mentioned New Jersey has collected less than $80 million in revenue from mobile sports wagering over a three-year period.
“There are a few states that have done it in a different way, where the state contracts with the private sector who runs the sportsbooks, but the state ends up getting the majority of what is left over after everything is returned to the bettors,” he said.
“For the bettors it’s seamless and it’s exactly the same. The only difference is the state gets the money versus others” he concluded.