ALBANY, N.Y. — As recently as two years ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo's position was that mobile sports betting would be unconstitutional in NY.
However, with the state facing a now $15 billion deficit and its residents already paying the highest taxes in the nation, he's changed his tune.
Cuomo announced legislation Wednesday that would allow mobile sports wagering.
Although he says it will work differently in New York than in some other states.
"We want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery," Cuomo told reporters, noting that the lottery allows the state to keep the profits.
Under the proposal, the New York State Gaming Commission would issue a license to a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports betting.
According to Cuomo, this is different than in some other states, where casinos are allowed to enter into those agreements, and where the casinos are the ones who mostly profit from it.
"And I'm not here to make the casinos a lot of money. I'm here to raise funds for the state," he said.
"The reality is that the billions of dollars that are being wagered and the monies that are being made are not being made by the taxing jurisdictions," said Robert F. Mujica Jr. Director, New York State Division of the Budget.
For example, in New Jersey, according to Mujica, the Garden State has only gleaned $80 million after three years of legalized mobile sports betting.
The New York plan, he said, would be in line with what a few other states have done.
."Where the state contracts with the private sector who runs the sports books but the state ends up getting the majority of what is left over after everything is returned to the bettors," Mujica explained.
According to Mujica, eliminating the middle man in such fashion would bring the state ten times as much revenue.
"It's the difference between the state making somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million a year versus $500 million a year," he said.
He also insists it would make difference to gamblers.
"For the bettors it's seamless and exactly the same," he said. "The only difference is the state gets the money versus others."
Any company licensed to operate mobile wagering apps in the state would also be required to include "safeguards" to protect New Yorkers against abuses and addiction.
"New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States," Cuomo said.