Analysis

Cuomo raises NY mobile hopes – then mentions lottery

The long hoped-for arrival of mobile betting in New York could be on the cards.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled a policy shift, saying he would include mobile betting in his 2021 proposals.

The development would be a major boost for the U.S. betting industry. New York is one of the top four major states in the country with Florida, California and Texas.

Cuomo had hinted at a possible change of stance on mobile betting just before Christmas.

But the speed at which regulations could pass will have surprised even the most jaded observers.

In comments reported by the New York Daily News, Cuomo said: “New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States.

“By legalizing online sports betting we aim to keep millions of dollars in tax revenue here at home.”

$1bn question

Sara Slane, ex-SVP of public affairs at the American Gaming Association and founder of Slane Advisory, said New York would soon eclipse other regulated states.

“Governor Cuomo’s embrace of mobile sports-betting immediately positions New York to soon lead all other states and generate significant revenue for state coffers.”

“We’ve consistently seen that bettors want to wager on sports and mobile, just like all other industries, is the modern mechanism for the industry to drive the most revenue back to the state. 

New York, with a population of nearly 20 million, dwarfs any other state with legal betting, and should have no problem regularly topping $1 billion a month in wagers.”

In-person sports betting is regulated across New York casinos. 

However, Cuomo reportedly said he wanted sports-betting to be controlled by the lottery.

This would come as a blow to those that have already signed offline/online relationships. 

New York would clearly be boosted on the Wedge Index of gaming friendliness by the legislation of mobile. New York is current tied 14th.

But having it controlled by the lottery would curtail competition which would impact the state tally.

We can expect many months of lobbying if he pushes ahead with the lottery model. 

The tax rate would also have to be competitive with New Jersey’s 13% on mobile wagering.

Cuomo has always opposed betting regulation, insisting it needed a constitutional amendment to pass. 

Clearly the economic impact of the pandemic has pushed him to reverse his position on the issue.

Bridge and tunnel

The pandemic and the fact that up to 20% of neighboring New Jersey betting handle is generated by New Yorkers crossing the Hudson river to place their bets seem to have finally pushed the governor to take action.

New York is the fourth most populated state in the country. Legal online betting has long been seen as one of the top regulatory prizes for the industry.

It could also influence the other three major states. 

California could be the next most plausible to regulate, to speed up their respective regulatory processes.

According to a February 2020 report published by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, New Yorkers wagered c$837m in New Jersey in 2019. 

The Garden State set to hit close to $6bn in handle in 2020.

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Jake Pollard

Jake Pollard is an experienced journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and betting industry for many years. He has written for the leading media outlets as well as operators and suppliers in the igaming space. His current areas of focus are wide-ranging and include regulatory developments in the US, emerging markets in South America and how European countries are adapting to a decade of igaming regulation.

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