ioga Downs casino owner Jeff Gural has welcomed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s intention to legalize mobile sports betting, but he believes there is a way to help both the state and local casinos recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under Cuomo’s current plan, mobile sports betting would be run “the way the state runs the lottery where the state gets the revenues.”
Gural said he understands that the state has lost money during the pandemic, but he wants to find a way to help the casinos that were closed for six months and the employees who were furloughed. “I agree with the Governor, we just got to figure out a plan how to maximize revenue for the state and at the same time help the upstate casinos,” he said, as reported by the Associated Press.
“Sports betting is very different from the lottery. In the lottery you’re selling tickets, they’re all the same. So, if you want to buy a Powerball ticket in New York, if you want to buy a Powerball ticket in Pennsylvania it’s a dollar. There’s no great competition… you need to have competition.”
Gural added that “if they were to run it through the lottery they would lose money.” He said the state also needs to attract people who bet illegally or cross state borders to place mobile bets. “Do you keep the status quo, which is either people have to drive to New Jersey or Pennsylvania to make a bet online, or they’re betting illegally? Or, you legalize it where you can tax it and regulate it?”
Gural estimates that the state could make up to $250 million in licensing fees and $150-$200 million in tax revenue. He plans to reach out to the Governor and budget director Robert Mujica to discuss options for mobile sports betting.