It was probably inevitable that legal sports betting would come to New York state. But the manner in which Gov. Cuomo is proposing to adopt it hurts consumers by limiting betting sites and further weds the state’s budget health to gambling — which disproportionately lures and effectively taxes the poor and undermines the work ethic.
Online sports betting, legalized by the Supreme Court in 2017, is here to stay. National Football League broadcasts highlight it; commercial breaks include DraftKings ads as much as Clydesdales. But legalizing the practice doesn’t mean state governments should control it.
That’s Cuomo’s plan: using the state lottery commission to license specific gambling sites that would agree to share the most revenue with the state. An open market, such as one linked to casinos, is anathema for the governor. Says Cuomo: “I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state.”
State budget director Robert Mujica doubles down on the point, projecting $500 million that “would go to the state budget. Otherwise, for the bettors, it’s seamless and it’s exactly the same. The only difference is the state gets the money versus others.”
Of course, it isn’t the same for the gamblers. There are at least 10 major online sports-betting services. New York would limit options — and have every reason to license those offering the best odds for the state, not the bettor.
That fails what former New York Deputy Mayor Steve Goldsmith likes to call the “yellow pages