In possibly his last political act, under fire New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo–currently fighting for his political life amid a raft of MeToo sex harassment allegations–has agreed to legalise online sports betting in the state.
Looking to neighbouring New Jersey, which pulled-in US$128.80m (£93.73m/€108.39m) in the first two months of this year, the long anticipated move is expected to raise at least US$500m (£363.83m/€420.78m) a year in revenue for the Empire State and may well become the biggest and richest sports book in the country.
“Many states have done sports betting but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations,” said Cuomo.
“That makes a lot of money for casinos, but it makes minimal money for the state. I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money, I’m here to raise funds for the state.”
Under the new betting legislation, New York will select a minimum of two platform providers, who, in turn, will be expected to work with at least four “skins” or operators in the state.
Most of the revenue would go to the state’s education budget, said Cuomo’s office, with at least US$6m (£4.36m/€5.05m) a year dedicated to countering problem gambling and a further US$5m (£3.63m/€4.2m) annually for youth sports.
Noble aims. But it’s unlikely that governor Cuomo, who has suffered something of a precipitous fall from grace, will be in office long enough to profit from the plaudits.
Simultaneously, it’s boom in the USA for online gambling and iGaming.
US president Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware has just reported that its Sports Lottery has seen a keen 40 per cent, year on year, increase in March revenue to almost US$1m (£727,000/€841,000).
Delaware punters placed almost 200,000 online sporting bets and won US$5.6m (£4.07m/€4.71m) in prize money in March.
Further west, the vast cowboy state of Wyoming has now also passed legislation that will legalise sports betting there by this September.
Gaming operator licences will cost US$100,000 (£72,767/€84,158) and be valid for five years. All revenue will be taxed at 10 per cent a month.
The far north-eastern state of Maine, bordering Canada, is also poised to legalise online sports wagering.
A bill to authorize, and regulate, sports betting has been introduced in the state senate.
Four different licences, each costing US$20,000 (£14,555/€16,830), are available: commercial racetrack operator, off-track betting vertical, slot machine or casino operator and a special betting permit for a federally-recognised native American tribes.
Land-based operators will pay tax at 10 per cent, while iGaming verticals will be taxed at 16 per cent. All players must be at least 21-years-old.