In reversal, Cuomo backs online sports gambling to boost state revenue

“At a time when New York faces a historic budget deficit due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the current online sports wagering structure incentivizes a large segment of New York residents to travel out of state to make online sports wagers or continue to patronize black markets,” Cuomo said.

An industry study found that close to 20% of New Jersey’s sports gambling revenue comes from New York residents, the governor’s office said.

Properly regulated, sports betting is an appropriate source of revenues and entertainment, and there is no reason that New Yorkers should not enjoy those benefits as much as other states that have subsequently legalized the practice,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

The organization added that it hoped the decision by the governor would hasten the development of a casino in the city.

“Hopefully, approval of a competitive process to authorize the development of three casinos in New York City will follow, with a similar rationale, but also adding the creation of thousands of new jobs in the hotel and entertainment industries that have been devastated by the pandemic,” Wylde said.

Sports gambling, or wagering, is legal online in 14 states and in four commercial and Native American facilities in parts of upstate New York, the governor’s office said. 

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. initially proposed legalizing online sports gambling in New York. Addabbo’s bill would implement an 8.5% tax on sports wagering gross revenue and would require a licensing fee of $12 million for each agent or company that’s allowed to conduct mobile betting.

Addabbo estimated the legalization of gambling on professional sports would bring $1 billion in revenue per year.

“It moves the ball ever closer to the goal line,” Addabbo said, referring to his bill. “It’s going to be about the details. I’m hopeful we can work with the governor’s administration on this.”

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