The state of gambling in New York has confused me for years now. In a state where you can play the lottery, Quick Draw, scratch-off tickets, and bet horses we couldn't legally bet sports. As a guy that enjoys a wager on games now and then I was thrilled when Rivers Casino and Resort was able to open a sportsbook but still confused as to why mobile betting that has been very lucrative for New Jersey was still banned? Now it appears the governor has decided to stop letting that potential revenue leak into New Jersey and will support mobile sports wagering in his upcoming State of the State address.

In part of a statement from the governor obtained by the New York Daily News, Cuomo said, “New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States, and by legalizing online sports betting we aim to keep millions of dollars in tax revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.”

I have always been a supporter of the "Better late than never" theory and will be thrilled when mobile wagering is legal. I also love that the Governor is willing to explore multiple options to tackle the giant deficit facing New York State. So I don't mean to sound ungrateful when I say, it's about time. I can help but wonder how much better we would have been prepared to weather the terrible pandemic had we been raking in millions and millions of dollars for the last year or two. The stories of New Yorkers taking the train into New Jersey or driving across the state border just to make a wager then hopping back on the train or highway right back into New York. Reports from the Daily News show New Jersey made $6.5 million in taxes off mobile wagering. Projections show that 20% of those wagers were made by New Yorkers so the state missed out on about $1.3 million last year alone. Now think about the millions of people that couldn't or wouldn't make that trip because it's an inconvenience and New York would be looking at a huge win fall.

I look forward to next week's address and hopefully a quick turn around. Not only as someone who enjoys wagering on sports but also as a taxpayer hoping that this might keep my personal tax bill down.

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