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With the intention of taking advantage of the pull of the Super Bowl, New York gave the green light to the controversial online sports betting business, offered by the largest market in the United States to date, hoping to contribute up to $500 million a year in state coffers drained by the pandemic.
The “Empire State”, with almost 20 million residents, is at the forefront of twenty states in which it is legal to bet from the cell phone who will win the game of the night, ahead of its neighbor New Jersey, where many New Yorkers crossed since it became the pioneer in 2018.
In that year, the US Supreme Court lifted the veto limiting betting to Nevada only, where Las Vegas is located, known as “the city of vice”, and since then at least sixteen states have legalized them.
In New York, the authorized operators —Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers, to which another five will be added— will pay a 51% tax rate on their gross billing to New York for the next 10 years, a high toll with which the state aspires to collect almost 500 million in 2025, a figure that experts consider unrealistic.
Zack Hall, spokesman for the specialized site PlayNY.com, told EFE that that estimate is “very optimistic, but not impossible”, given the “unique structure” of the New York model, while analysts at Regulus Partners consider that it is based on “unreliable assumptions about the gross turnover of the game (gaming)”.
“Tax revenue is the crown jewel for any state that legalizes sports betting. New York has been sitting idle for years as New Jersey became the biggest market in the US.”Hall pointed out, pointing out that the second collects 10 million monthly with a lower rate of 14%.
An important source of income for New York
New York seems to trust its new revenue source, since according to the analysis of the budgets published by the state auditor, Thomas DiNapoli, ‘online’ sports betting is the section that will contribute the most money in 2025 behind only personal income taxes, and followed by recreational cannabis use.
After months of a pandemic that have left a budget deficit, The green light for this sector was given in April last year by former Governor Andrew Cuomo., disgraced by a sexual harassment scandal, and the idea of the legislators was that it be released in time for the Super Bowl, on February 13.
The Super Bowl, the most popular sporting event in the US, brings Americans together in front of the television to watch the football passes – as well as the most sought-after commercials of the year and the halftime show – so after a high-volume opening weekend in New York, expectations are high.
According to GeoComply, a geolocation company, the four active digital bookmakers made the state a leader in the country just twelve hours after its premiere, and the volume of transactions and logins accumulated until Sunday night was “legendary”, with 17 million “pings”.
The bets began to flow from minute one and also the advertising, with television ads or on social networks by sports “ambassadors” such as the Manning family, as well as promotions: “Risk-free bet up to $1,000 dollars”, ” $300 free when you sign up,” “Bonus of up to $1,000 dollars for your deposit”.
Gambling addiction in the fine print
In small print come notices about “problem gambling” especially hanging over teens, war veterans, older adults and the Latino and Asian communities, according to the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG), funded by the state office for Addiction Services and Support.
To compare figures, that office budgeted in the 2019-2020 financial year —when it was allowed for the first time to make sports bets in state casinos— about $5.7 million dollars for addiction prevention, treatment and recovery expenses.
Amanda Quintana, program manager at one of the NYCPG centers in the Hudson region, told EFE, “concern” for young people, whom he considered that the operators and their technologies “target”, and foresaw increased demand for treatments, which will require “adequate funding.”
Most of the proceeds from bets (80%) will go to elementary and secondary education and alleviate the tax burden of homeowners, while the first year 1% will go to the treatment and awareness of gambling addictions, and another 1% to sports educational programs.
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