New York lawmakers might need to rethink budget alternatives following New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement that state revenue is on the decline. That could include the legalization of online NY sports betting.
First reported by The Buffalo News, Cuomo said, “popular items” in his recent budget proposal might face cuts.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told The Buffalo News, “This is the most serious revenue shock the state has faced in many years.”
DiNapoli did follow up by saying the situation could improve in the coming months.
Revenue alternatives: NY sports betting, poker?
One way to bring in a chunk of new tax revenue is through the legalization of online sports betting, poker and casino games.
Neighboring New Jersey has seen almost a billion dollars wagered since it introduced sports betting last summer. Millions have been generated in tax revenue
In January, $380 million was wagered in the Garden State, including nearly $20 million in revenue for gaming operators. .
Casinos and racetracks also see sports betting as a way to increase the ancillary value brought to their properties.
The major take away here is the mobile/online component.
Mobile/online platforms accounted for more than two-thirds of money wagered on sports in New Jersey in recent months.
Online sports betting is key
New York sports betting is already on its way at the states four upstate NY casinos. However, without an online/mobile component, the Empire State could lose out on a substantial amount of gaming dollars.
The New York State Gaming Commission gave preliminary approval on Jan. 28, to regulations to govern sports betting. The current rules only legalize wagering on-site but they could allow the states tribal interest to participate in sports betting.
The proposed regulations are currently in a 60-day public comment period.
According to Cuomo, revenues are $2.3 billion below projections for the fiscal year. This includes $500 million less in personal income taxes, which his administration estimated last month.
While gaming revenue is not a silver bullet, the revenue generated could stop the bleeding, for now.
Mobile argument not going away
Two key lawmakers have vowed to join forces and push for online/mobile wagering to be included in the final rules and regulations.
Sen. Joseph Addabbo, chair of the Senate Racing, Wagering and Gaming Committee and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow his counterpart in the House will be leading the crusade.
Pretlow told Legal Sports Report he is gathering legal opinions to back up his position that a constitutional amendment is not required to allow for mobile wagering.
“We’re in the process of getting more qualified legal advice on constitutionality that what we’re saying in respect to it being legal is correct if people register at the casinos and the servers are located in the casino,” Pretlow said.
MGM comes to New York
The NY gaming commission also approved MGM Resorts $850 million purchase of Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway. The 97-acre property has 5,200 video-lottery terminals and is located just 15 miles from Times Square.
The company’s portfolio also includes the Borgata in Atlantic City and MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, which opened last year.
According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, MGM Springfield pulled in about $27 million in gross gaming revenue in its first full month of operation.