New York to Legalize Mobile Sports Betting

New York to Legalize Mobile Sports Betting
Coming to a phone near you.
Photo: Wayne Parry/AP/Shutterstock

To help fill New York’s $59 billion revenue shortfall and provide the aid to bounce back from the pandemic, the state budget for the fiscal year 2022 contains an impressive combination of progressive ideas, proposals to make fun stuff legal, and plans to do things New Jersey has already done. Included in those last two categories: Lawmakers and the governor have reached a tentative deal to legalize mobile sports betting.

According to industry outlets, the plan will be implemented by the New York State Gaming Commission, which will accept bids for proposals for up to two providers to run mobile sports gambling in the state. Because that operator would need to be partnered with one of the state’s commercial or tribal casinos, four frontrunners appear obvious: DraftKings, FanDuel, Bet365, and BetRivers. These operators would then be able to subcontract mobile betting contracts known as “skins” to other providers; according to State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., that number could be “eight or 20 skins, but we agreed on no less than four.” Around 50 percent of profits will be shared with the state, and consumer protections similar to those for sports betting at casinos will be in place.

Governor Cuomo has estimated that the legalization of sports betting on phones could generate as much as $500 million in annual revenue for the state — a number that includes around $200 million in New York cash currently estimated to be flowing across the Hudson to New Jersey’s legal market.

The measure is one of several new efforts to increase revenue for the state in the aftermath of the COVID economic crisis, which cut the amount pulled in from sales taxes while Albany adopted new programs to aid one million New Yorkers who lost jobs during the pandemic. In the past week, the state also legalized recreational marijuana use for adults and hiked taxes on people with incomes over $1 million — two measures that Governor Cuomo ceded control on amid scandals regarding alleged sexual misconduct and a potential cover-up of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.

As the New York State Assembly, Senate, and governor’s office close in on signing the deal, the budget will also include major protections to help individuals and businesses recover from the pandemic, including $29.5 billion for schools, $29 billion in green investments, $2.4 billion in relief for renters and homeowners, $2.4 billion in child-care aid, and $1 billion for small businesses.

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