Twelve days after the fiscal year 2022 budget was approved by the state Assembly and Senate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially added his signature to one of the most complicated and important state budgets ever passed, which finally includes mobile sports betting.
How it will come about will play out over the next several months.
One of the major proponents of mobile sports betting legislation in New York for the past three years is finally seeing the fruits of his labor on the right track — somewhat.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, said he is pleased to see that the legalization of mobile sports betting was included in the final language of the budget that was signed by Cuomo on Monday.
Although it’s not the mobile sports betting proposal Addabbo and lawmakers sought, at least it’s a start. New York has the potential to be one of the top sports betting markets in the country, if not the top market.
Looking to Offset Budget Deficit
New York, like most states, is facing a major budget deficit caused by the coronavirus pandemic. And the Empire State has seen hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and educational funding flow to its neighbor New Jersey and illegal sports betting markets. By legalizing mobile sports betting, New York is expected to bring in around $99 million in fiscal year 2021-22, according to budget figures.
That estimated figure then jumps to approximately $357 million in fiscal year 2022-23, eventually reaching more than $500 million in FY 2025-26, most of which will fund education in the state. Experts have challenged those figures as being high, especially with the path Gov. Andrew Cuomo chose to follow.
“We were already facing a budget deficit before the COVID-19 pandemic, so we needed to find additional revenue streams for the state. There was no way we could cut our way out of the hole we found ourselves in,” Addabbo said in a news release. “Legalizing mobile sports betting will bring in the funds needed by the state that will go toward funding our education system, problem gambling awareness programs and creating jobs.”
New Yorkers are already placing mobile sports bets, but they are either going to the illegal market or traveling to neighboring states where it is legal to do so like Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A study found that in 2019, New York residents wagered $837 million in New Jersey on sports bets. Addabbo noted that not only was New York losing revenue to these other outlets, but individuals with gaming addiction issues were not getting the help they needed.
“When New York residents travel to other states or participate in the illegal market to place mobile sports wagers, there is no way for us to identify and help them should they have a gaming addiction,” Addabbo said. “By safely legalizing mobile sports betting, New York State can better recognize and assist those with a gambling problem, with the help of the over one dozen safeguards and measures written into the bill’s language.”
Bids Expected to Start July 1
The state Gaming Commission is set to start the mobile sports betting process and begin to accept bids from sportsbook providers starting July 1.
Addabbo said he hopes to see fully functional mobile sports betting up and running in New York by the Super Bowl, set for Feb. 13, 2022.
How big is the most-wagered sporting event each year?
According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), Garden State residents bet $117 million on last year’s Super Bowl, an increase of 116% from $54 million in bets on the big game in 2020. This year’s total brought New Jersey over $11 million in revenue. Nationally, it’s estimated that upward of $500 million was legally bet on the Super Bowl.
While it is not currently known exactly how many of those bets were placed online, New Jersey bettors regularly place about 90% of the total handle through online sites.
Iowa more than doubled its wagers from last year, taking in $16.3 million compared to $6.5 million. Pennsylvania took in $53.6 million in bets, an increase from $30.6 million from a year ago. Oregon saw its bets spike to $3.46 million compared to $1.9 million last year. First-time betting states, like Illinois and Colorado, saw residents wager $45.6 million and $31.2 million on the Super Bowl, respectively.
“While we already have in-person legal sports betting here in New York, it is clear that the states that allow for mobile wagering are far more successful,” Addabbo said. “With another Super Bowl gone, New York continues to lag behind other states — even states that have just legalized sports betting — when we should be leading the way. I am hopefully that with the passage of legalized mobile sports betting, New York will soon begin to reap the benefits in terms of revenue, educational funding, addiction programs and jobs. For many, it is an exciting time to be a sports fan in New York.”
Let the process begin.