Mobile Sports Betting Could Help Bridge $6B  State Budget Shortfall: Addabbo

Mobile Sports Betting Could Help Bridge $6B State Budget Shortfall: Addabbo

Photo Courtesy of FLICKR/Baishampayan Ghose

At least one recent study has found that legalized sports betting has the potential to generate $2.6 billion annually for NY, with $727 million in labor income and a $1.4 billion in the Gross Domestic Product.

By Forum Staff

State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) on Friday said he believes he knows a way to help bridge the State’s $6 billion budget gap to better fund the state’s healthcare system, while also supporting educational resources like Foundation Aid.

Legalize mobile sports betting in New York.

“If State legislators cannot figure out a way to bring in more money, there will be unfortunate and devastating cuts to Medicaid,” Addabbo said. “It is frustrating to know we will have to make these tough decisions when there is money out there just waiting for us to capture, but we refuse to take advantage of it. Mobile sports betting is benefitting New Jersey — with approximately 25 percent of [Jersey’s] mobile-wagering business coming from New York residents — and it could provide the same positive results for New York.”

Addabbo on Friday pointed to another area of State aid that is severely underfunded: educational Foundation Aid, which was created in 2007 to help close the spending gap between school districts and create an equitable education system for all students. However, after more than a decade, Foundation Aid remains underfunded by more than $4 billion.

Earlier this year, Addabbo, a member of the Senate Education Committee, attended a roundtable hosted by Sen. Shelly Mayer, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, and Sen. Brian Benjamin, chairman of the Senate Revenue and Budget Committee, to discuss the significance of Foundation Aid and the importance of fully funding the tool that aims to help students who are most in need.

“Foundation Aid is a vital investment we need to fund in order to adequately help struggling schools, especially those with students who have special needs and disabilities, students living in poverty, and ESL students — all of whom require more resources than the average student,” Addabbo said. “If we were to implement mobile sports betting in the state, 80 percent of taxable winnings would go directly into the educational fund, meaning we can make needed forward strides in getting these schools the money they deserve.”

The numbers are clear: According to the Economic Impact of Legalized Sports Betting study conducted by Oxford Economics in May 2017, legalized sports betting has the potential to generate $2.6 billion annually for NY, with $727 million in labor income, and a $1.4 billion in the Gross Domestic Product, Addabbo added.

“When I see numbers like this, it makes the case pretty clear that New York needs to legalize mobile sports betting,” the South Queens senator said. “Even if we do not hit these exact projected numbers, mobile sports betting will bring in hundreds of millions — if not billions — of revenue that the State desperately needs for vital programs like Foundation Aid and closing the gap in Medicaid funding.”

And in order to address the immediate need for further revenue, Addabbo indicated that he also believes the State should consider utilizing the three dormant downstate commercial gaming licenses.


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