New York Gaming is Off to a Hot Start, But We’re Just Getting Started
Once New York entered the mobile sports betting arena we hit the ground running, and since starting back in January of 2022 we have collected more tax revenue than any other state since mobile sports betting became legal in 2018. With only 9 operators, those are impressive numbers and are partially attributed to the amazing fans we have in our state, as well as the top-tier mobile sports betting platforms we have in New York.
According to the New York State Gaming Commission, New Yorkers wagered more than $872 million on mobile sports bets in the month of August. That brings the total wagers placed in the state over $10 billion in just eight short months providing New York State with over $400 million in tax revenue.
As legislated, over 90% of that money is going to New York’s educational funding, youth sports programs across the state, as well as problem gaming programs to help those who may have a gaming addiction and to educate players on problem gaming signs to prevent someone from developing an addiction.
Our numbers dipped slightly over the summer, which was expected as the hockey and basketball playoffs came to a close. However, with the start of the NFL season, for the first time we will be able to provide New Yorkers with mobile sports betting for the entire football season. Additionally, MLB is entering its playoffs and the NHL and NBA seasons about to start, so we are expecting a big rebound and a much higher handle for the last third of the year.
While we are happy with the way mobile sports betting is running, there is always room to improve and we are working on bringing in even more sports for fans to wager on.
Some of those sports could be car or horse races. We are working on allowing racing fans to bet on their favorite speed car drivers. I am also evaluating the idea of increasing the horse racing activity in the state’s licensed mobile sports betting operation. There is no reason that sports fans shouldn’t be able to bet on the Mets, Yankees, Jets or Giants, while also the races at Pocono Raceway and Saratoga all on the same app.
By including car and horse racing in our mobile sports betting platforms, we will not only bring in even more revenue for New York through the increased wagers, but we also hope to increase viewership and fandom of these great sports. At the end of the day, we are looking to provide New Yorkers with the best, most comprehensive mobile sports betting products in the country.
Mobile sports betting isn’t the only sector of New York’s gaming industry that is expanding. With three new full casino licenses about to be issued, we are going to see exponential growth at the casinos which are awarded the licenses. With these full licenses, the casinos will be allowed to operate table games at their establishments, giving players the opportunity to play games with live dealers like poker, blackjack and more.
An immediate benefit from distributing these licenses is the revenue the state will receive from the awarding them to the winning bidders. Each license is expected to fetch upwards of $500 million, which goes right into the state’s coffers and will be used to benefit all New Yorkers.
The initial benefit I think of when I hear about the licenses is jobs. By allowing table games at our downstate casinos it will create thousands of new jobs for New Yorkers. These newly created positions will help strengthen the downstate economy. Finding individuals stable employment is one of the most important tasks for an elected official.
While we continue to improve mobile sports betting and with table games arriving at our downstate casinos in short order, there is another aspect of New York’s gaming industry that I will work towards exploring next year and that is iGaming, where bettors can play slots or poker directly from their computers or mobile devices. I intend to introduce legislation and work with my colleagues during the 2023 legislative session in Albany that would legalize iGaming for our residents. By making iGaming legal, we will draw people away from the illegal online gambling market, be able to actualize the tax revenue from these bets, and provide these people with the help they need if they are suffering from a gaming addiction.
It is rare in this day and age to truly be on the forefront of a new and expanding industry, but we have that opportunity here in New York with the gaming industry. As the state legislature continues to work on gaming issues in a regulated and methodical manner, we will be able to provide New Yorkers with the latest, greatest and safest technology in mobile sports betting and iGaming, while giving them top-of-the-line services in our brick-and-mortar casinos. And just like the football season, we’re just getting started!
Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. represents New York’s 15th State Senate District and serves as the Chairman of the Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering.