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New York to Follow Rhode Island's "Epic Fail" Sports Betting Model?

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Mar/10/2021

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo finally appears to be caving in to permit mobile sports betting after initially being dead set against it.  The news might not be all good however.

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  • Cuomo’s budget director had earlier expressed concerns that adding mobile wagering would require a constitutional amendment to allow for NY sports betting outside the casinos.
  • Cuomo seemed to echo that sentiment back in 2019 when the state prepared to offer sports betting only at designated casinos, most of which were far from major population centers.
  • The New York State Governor did an about face in early January, citing the success of neighboring New Jersey, which has now surpassed Nevada in terms of overall sports handle.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic appears to have helped as Cuomo said, with legalizing of mobile sports wagering, the state would be able to “keep millions of dollars in tax revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild” from the coronavirus crisis.
  • The Governor appears to have taken a liking to the so-called "Rhode Island model". 
  • While hinting that casinos could oversee sports wagering in the state, Cuomo appeared to be leaning more towards the state Lottery doing so.
  • “The second alternative is to have the people of the state of New York actually get the profits from mobile sports betting. And run it the way we run the state lottery which is it’s state-run and the state gets all the revenue. I’m with the people and I believe the people of the state should get the revenues. This is not a moneymaker for private interests to collect just more tax revenue. We want the actual revenue.”
  • “It’s intentionally sketchy,” attorney Bennett Leibman explained of Gov. Cuomo’s plan for online sports betting in New York. “But mobile betting is going to go to one or more casino approved skins, after a competitive bidding process. It’s modeled like New Hampshire — high tax monopoly, or oligopoly. No added retail shops or betting in sports venues.”
  • Danny Small of Elite Sports NY: "The monopoly with high taxes means that players won’t have the option to choose the best sportsbook for their needs and the sportsbooks themselves won’t feel inclined to offer bonuses or promos to the player base."
  • Small adds: "It’s quite clear that online sports betting has a future in the Empire State, but will it look like a cheap imitation of Rhode Island’s current system or a forward-thinking plan that addresses the unique circumstances of New York?"

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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