As New Jersey makes history and New York takes small steps forward, Addabbo continues push to bring mobile sports betting to increase funding for schools and create jobs

New Jersey made history back in May by taking in more money from sports betting for the first time ever than Nevada, and State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., the Chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, says a large amount of that money came from New York bettors.

According to their individual states’ gaming controls, New Jersey books took in $318.9 million in bets for the month of May, while Nevada took $317.4 million in wagers during the month.

On May 8, 2019, Kip Levin of Fan Duel and Lindsay Slader of Geo Comply, both stated in front of Addabbo at his hearing of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, that approximately 25% of New Jersey’s sports bets come from New York residents. That would mean New Yorkers placed over $79 million in sports bets in New Jersey during the month of May.

Addabbo, who penned legislation to legalize sports betting with a mobile component in New York State that passed the Senate, but failed to be brought to a vote in the Assembly during the 2019 legislative session, points to those figures as lost revenue for the State.

“It’s frustrating to see those numbers and realize that money — and more — could be coming to New York to help our students and citizens,” Addabbo said. “80% of tax revenue generated from gaming goes directly to educational funding, which means without having legal sports betting in New York with a mobile component, our children are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The impressive numbers for New Jersey since instituting legal sports betting in the state aren’t confined to May’s numbers either. From sports betting’s inception in New Jersey on June 14, 2018 to June 2019 — one full year of legal sports betting — the state has brought in $203.8 million in Sports Wagering Gross Revenue, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s report based on filings with the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

In New York, an attempt is being made to prove that there is a market for sports betting in the state, as the New York State Gaming Commission is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide a gaming market study in relation to the evaluation of the gaming market in the New York, and potential impacts of changes to that market both within and outside of the state.

“One of the major detractions against sports betting here in New York is that there is no appetite for it,” Addabbo said. “This gaming market study proposed by the NYS Gaming Commission aims to find out exactly that. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch as money that could be coming to our state goes to New Jersey and surrounding states that allow mobile sports betting. I believe that we can simultaneously address the issues related to problematic gaming, satisfy our constitutional requirements and credibly develop a gaming industry plan that maximizes its potential.”

In another step forward in gaining ground on neighboring states, New York opened its first sports betting lounge at the Rivers Casino in Schenectady on June 16, which Addabbo attended. Under the current NYS Gaming Commissioner regulations, sports betting can take place in the state only by physically placing a sport wager in person at one of the four licensed upstate casinos. Addabbo sees this positive step by the state as an opportunity to continue the mobile sports betting discussion.

“If New York is serious about raising revenue, improving programs to address gambling addiction, create jobs, regulate the existing illegal sports betting in our state and increase funding for our students, then we must consider supplementing the current sport betting regulations with a mobile component.”