New York Gov. Stands by Monopoly Model for Sports Betting

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has once again dampened the hopes that New York will see a liberal mobile sports betting market. In his latest address, the governor said that he prefers the state lottery to run the business.

New York Not Getting Mobile Betting Just Yet

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been flirting with the idea of bringing mobile and online sports betting to the Empire State for several weeks now, causing both excitement and surprise at the proposed model he considers best moving forward.

During his State of the State address on Tuesday, Cuomo commented on the sports betting model that New York is likely to adopt. While the governor is not against a model where private companies compete for licenses outright, he still preferred the lottery as it made the most sense to him.

According to Cuomo, a state monopoly run through the New York State Lottery would allow the Empire State to generate $500 million in direct tax revenue compared to a fraction of that amount should casinos be allowed to run the business privately.

In his address, Cuomo simply asked: the question is who makes the profit? He then went on to explain:

“One proposal is casinos to run mobile sports betting. That’s very good for casinos and the people who support casinos. The second alternative 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. That is, the state runs it and the state gets all the revenue.”

-NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

“I am with the people,” added Cuomo, and said that it should be the people of the state who get the revenues. “This is not a money-maker for private interests, it’s just the means so that we [the state] can collect more tax revenue.”

The Debate Rages for over a Decade Now

This was the most the governor spoke about mobile sports betting in the Empire State, a debate that has been ongoing since at least 2009.

Speaking to Yaniv Sherman, 888’s SVP and Head of US earlier this month, we found out that, as Sherman pointed out, sports betting is not a top political issue for the state.

Yet, New York, which has one of the largest economic powers and population in the United States, has been trying to legalize sports betting to no avail.  

However, Sherman did point out that time is of the essence and potentially-interested industry stakeholders would benefit from coming together, putting their differences aside, and pitching a model for the sports betting industry that would convince the governor to go ahead with a private-run mobile betting sector.

Whether the governor is right remains to be seen. Stakeholders do not as much fear as they caution that the long-term potential of a state-run monopoly is not really going to allow New York to reach its potential.

New York presently allows sports betting at eight casinos. The properties posted somewhat subdued results in December and suffered from shut-downs all throughout the year.

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