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New York Punters Can Now Make Sports Bets on Their Phones, Queens Senator Welcomes Change

Gamblers in New York have been lawfully able to place sports bets on their phones since Saturday – following its legalization (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Jan. 14, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Gamblers in New York are now legally able to place sports bets on their phones—with recently-enacted state legislation permitting it since Saturday.

Punters across the state have been legally permitted since Jan. 8 to place bets via their cell phones on a range of sports, such as baseball, football and basketball. Officials say the legalization of cellphone gambling will generate millions of dollars of tax revenue for the state.

Bettors are now able to make wagers with four betting operators — Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street Interactive — which have been licensed by The New York State Gaming Commission. Five additional operators are expected to be approved to take mobile sports bets in the near future.

Up until Saturday, New York gamblers could only legally place sports bets at certain casinos in the state. They could only lawfully place a sports bet on their phones by traveling to neighboring states such as New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

While it inconvenienced many bettors, it also meant the state was missing out on much-needed tax revenue. Advocates of mobile sports betting have long pushed for its legalization and lawmakers finally acquiesced last year faced with a mounting economic crisis, borne largely by the pandemic.

Lawmakers legalized mobile sports betting in the 2022 Executive Budget as part of an effort to plug a $15 billion deficit in the state’s finances.

The legalization of mobile phone betting was welcomed by State Sen. Joseph Addabbo who advocated for its legalization.

He said mobile sports betting would benefit all New Yorkers — even if they never place a bet — since it is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue each year.

Addabbo said that nearly 25 percent of New Jersey’s sports wagering revenue comes from New York residents—revenue the Empire State has been missing out on.

“We hope that… those bettors will remain here safely and bet in their own state,” Addabbo said in a statement Wednesday.

Addabbo said that safeguards such as caps on an individual’s account have been put in place to combat gambling addiction while $6 million is being set aside annually to fund gambling addiction programs.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, pictured, advocated for mobile sports betting to be legalized (Photo by Don Pollard/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

The lawmaker, who represents central and southeast Queens, said that most of the new tax revenue generated by mobile sports betting has been earmarked for education and youth sports programs.

He said its legalization would also create new jobs as the state looks to bounce back from the economic slowdown.

Addabbo said New Yorkers flocked to sports betting apps this past weekend creating a windfall for the state’s balance sheets.

Around 17.2 million mobile sports betting transactions—involving bets, deposits and withdrawals—took place across the state, Addabbo said, citing data from GeoComply, a company that provides location services to betting operators.

Of those transactions, more than 8 million took place across the five boroughs — eclipsing the totals of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Addabbo said.

Addabbo said the state generated $3.7 million in tax revenue from mobile sports betting in one day over the weekend – making New York the top state for betting in the country. The state also recorded more mobile wagers than any other state had on its opening day, he said.

“To see how quickly New York shot to the top of the list for the number of bets taken proves that our people were ready to embrace mobile sports betting in their home state,” Addabbo said.

“And with five additional operators close to being approved to go live, I hope we can continue to capitalize on this historic start and experience a growth in revenue, educational funding, jobs, and new resources for gaming addiction and youth sports.”

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