Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget plan for the fiscal year beginning April 1 does not include casino expansion.
New casinos opening in or near Manhattan are unlikely for the foreseeable future, and legal online sports betting is still far away.
While money from local bettors continues to bleed into New Jersey and Pennsylvania at a rapid rate, casinos in upstate New York that are able to accept sports wagers on-site have only generated a meager $778,343 in tax revenue as of Jan 1, 2020.
It is reported that online wagers account for 75%-80% of sports betting volume in many of the states where they are legal. Attempts to pass online sports betting in New York last year failed and so far in 2020, not much has changed.
New York ranks dead last among the eleven states reporting tax revenue from sports betting since the supreme court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018. Iowa, coming in tenth, received over $1.3 million in tax revenue while New Jersey brought in almost $52 million for its residents by way of sports.
A State-By-State Glance
Here is a look at the tax revenue generated from sports betting state-by-state as well as the month they began reporting:
– New Jersey: $51,778,548 (since June 2018)
– Nevada: $35,300,340 (since June 2018)
– Pennsylvania: $31,186,640 (since Nov 2018)
– Delaware: $10,703,811 (since June 2018)
– Rhode Island: $8,295,583 (since Nov 2018)
– Mississippi: $7,155,245 (since Aug 2018)
– Indiana: $4,062,099 (since Sep 2019)
– West Virginia: $2,607,715 (since Aug 2018)
– Oregon: $2,514,785 (since Oct 2019)
– Iowa: $1,301,649 (since Aug 2019)
– New York: $778,343 (since July 2019)
Despite $6 Billion Deficit, Cuomo Advises Against Decisions ‘Conditioned on Money’
“These are complicated issues, and I am skeptical about quick, knee-jerk reactions to (expanding casino operations), especially if it’s conditioned on money,” Cuomo said in a news conference from Feb. 24. But that won’t stop gambling titans MGM and Genting Group from putting additional pressure on lawmakers who find themselves in the midst of a $6 billion deficit this year.
Empire City Casino in Yonkers and Resorts World New York City in Queens are prepared to spend a combined $1 billion in order to receive approval to expand their gaming operations. The two properties are currently equipped only with electronic table games and video lottery terminals. Plans for expansion will include live table games, Las Vegas-style slot machines, and sports betting.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp has also been lobbying for a license to open a casino in New York City after completing the sale of Sands Bethlehem to Wind Creek Hospitality in May 2019.
New York Ban on New Licenses Presents Obstacle for Casino Lobbyists
Another difficult challenge for prospective casino operations has been a ban put in place on new casino licenses by Gov. Cuomo and his Democratic-led Assembly until 2023. This ban aims to protect the business health of upstate casinos and Cuomo has quashed all previous efforts to have the ban lifted earlier.
“Let’s study the system;” Cuomo suggests. What does it mean; where do we need it; what would be the effect on upstate casinos? There are going to be consequences. Let’s play it out. Where’s the law enforcement component?”
The state Gaming Commission is expected to produce the first draft of a report studying the future of gambling in New York in early April, although this will likely come after the state budget has been finalized. If both sides want to consider changes to New York’s gambling laws for this year, they will have to do so before the end of the legislative session in June. If they cannot, New York residents can prepare themselves for another year of losing significant tax revenue to their neighbors in other states.