New York has made some progress in the legal sports betting world, but not enough. Sports betting is now legal in the state, but only at the state’s commercial casinos. Due to compacts between the state and the tribes, tribal casinos will also be able to offer sports betting as well. As good as that all is, New York is missing out on tons of revenue to neighboring states by neglecting to legalize mobile sports betting. According to Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., Governor Andrew Cuomo doesn’t want legal mobile sports betting in the state of New York. But why not?
Possible Reasons For Cuomo Not Wanting Mobile Betting
The fact is that nobody outside of Cuomo and perhaps his inner circle knows right now why he is being so stubborn towards legalizing mobile sports betting in New York. He has repeatedly stated that the main issue of his was that he believes the state would need a constitutional amendment to allow for mobile sports betting. Some lawmakers and law firms have come out and said that an amendment would not be needed. However, Cuomo insists that they are wrong.
One thing is for sure, you can guarantee that Governor Cuomo knows New York will not be making as much revenue from sports betting without mobile betting. So it is curious as to why he would hide behind such an excuse like needing a constitutional amendment. Regardless of what his reasoning is, he is costing his state millions of dollars a month. There aren’t too many excuses that can justify that much loss in revenue.
The Revenue Lost to New Jersey and Pennsylvania
New Jersey is now the US king for sports betting, beating out Nevada in May for the most sports betting handle in the country. They can thank New York for that. Mobile wagering accounted for roughly 80 percent of their handle. It has been estimated that residents of New York account for as much as 15% of the total handle in New Jersey. If that were the case, we could make some assumptions on just how much New York is losing to New Jersey.
New York bettors contributed roughly $48 million of the $318.9 million that New Jersey took in during the month of May. If New York had mobile sports betting, you could assume that virtually all of that money would be staying put in New York. That would average out to over $575 million a year.
Pennsylvania has state-wide mobile sports betting as well. While it is safe to assume that Pennsylvania won’t see as much money from New York as New Jersey does, they will certainly see some New York money as bettors will simply cross into Pennsylvania to place bets on their phones.
Lack of Mobile Hurting NY Betting Facilities?
New York’s four upstate casinos will certainly see some action once their sportsbook open, but they can’t expect to see too many bettors from New York City. The drive is just too far and inconvenient for most bettors to travel to place bets, especially smaller bets. Allowing these upstate casinos to offer mobile sports betting would increase their revenue numbers astronomically.
The off-track betting facilities and horse tracks in New York are declining industries. If they would have been able to launch mobile sports betting apps, they would have a lot better chance of keeping their doors open. Now there are talks of potential layoffs in the industry as the decline continues.
Will Cuomo Budge on Mobile Betting?
Some experts estimate that as much as 90 percent of all sports betting in the country will be done via mobile or online platforms within 10 years. If New York indeed has to go the way of a constitutional amendment, that process can take as long as three years. That means New York won’t have mobile sports betting until at least 2022, although more likely 2023. That would give New Jersey five years of sports betting handle from New York, which could total nearly $3 billion based on May’s numbers.
Cuomo appears to be doing everything in his power to avoid the mobile issue. Addabbo has said that he will continue to press Cuomo on the issue, which will make this issue more interesting as time goes on. Only time will tell if Cuomo will budge on the issue of mobile sports betting and if the state does truly need to make a constitutional amendment to allow for mobile wagering. We will also see if Cuomo has any other excuses up his sleeve to try and delay mobile sports betting coming to New York, for whatever reason he may have.