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NY Post: Letting Andrew Cuomo Run Sports Betting is Bad Bet

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
Published on:
Jan/15/2021

Letting Andrew Cuomo run online sports gambling is a very bad bet, writes Howard Husock in an editorial piece for the New York Post.

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Cuomo recently had an about face in regard to mobile sports betting.  Once opposed, the Democratic New York Governor now wants it.

The Cuomo plan, according to Husock, an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal:

Using the state lottery commission to license specific gambling sites that would agree to share the most revenue with the state. An open market, such as one linked to casinos, is anathema for the governor. Says Cuomo: “I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state.”

State budget director Robert Mujica doubles down on the point, projecting $500 million that “would go to the state budget. Otherwise, for the bettors, it’s seamless and it’s exactly the same. The only difference is the state gets the money versus others.”

Of course, it isn’t the same for the gamblers. There are at least 10 major online sports-betting services. New York would limit options — and have every reason to license those offering the best odds for the state, not the bettor.

That fails what former New York Deputy Mayor Steve Goldsmith likes to call the “yellow pages test”: When one can find plenty of private providers in the phone books, there is no reason for government to supply the service itself or to limit the number who may.  Indeed, by Cuomo’s logic, the state could limit the number of entrants in any industry — and require the anointed to pony up money to the state or be barred from New York. 

That’s called corporatism — and it has stifled economies all over the world.

Husock suggests it gets worse.  By relying on lottery revenues to balance the budget, the state lottery commission must constantly lure the desperate to play a game in which the odds are stacked against them, he adds.

The Cuomo plan is like the state praying on the poor, he concludes.

To balance a budget bloated by pension promises and the nation’s most generous Medicaid payments, New York is turning to legalized marijuana and sports gambling. Perhaps the budget gap will be closed — but do we really want to live in such a culture?

- Dan Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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