The New York state motto is “Excelsior,” a Latin word that means “ever upward.” Unfortunately, when it comes to sports gambling on mobile devices, the Empire State has been living up to that motto.
According to State of Politics, during the first 30 days when sports gambling on mobile devices was legal in New York, $1.98 billion in bets were placed here. This means that in one month’s time, New York has already become the biggest sports betting market in the nation. It also means that the state has raked in more than $70 million in sports gambling-related tax revenue.
(Predictably, there are already complaints that New York’s taxes on the mobile sports gambling industry are too high. The New York Post reports that the 51% tax rate on the industry is the highest in the nation; the Post asserts that the industry is losing money in New York because of the high taxes and worries that mobile sports gambling will dry up as a result. Could it be that our state government is even greedier than the gambling industry?)
Gov. Kathy Hochul is a big fan of sports gambling on mobile devices. According to the Governor, “‘Over the past month, we’ve seen how mobile sports wagering can be an economic engine for New York, driving significant funding to our schools, youth sports, and so much more.’” The Governor added, “‘As this new industry continues to grow, New York will make sure we have the resources and guidelines in place to make it a success for all.’”
Gov. Hochul is mistaken in stating that sports gambling on mobile devices can be a “success for all.” The gambling industry is a predatory enterprise that entices people into addictive behavior by dangling the possibility of big winnings. For addicted gamblers and their families, sports gambling on mobile devices is anything but a success. As Jason J. McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, stated in an interview with Christianity Today, sports gambling on mobile devices “‘is devastating to families that are impacted… On the anonymity of their cellphone in the living room, they’re gambling away their mortgage money.’”
If you or a loved one are struggling with problem gambling, please call the New York State HOPEline, New York’s 24/7 problem gambling hotline, at 1 (877) 8-HOPENY or text “46739”. Additionally, you can visit the New York Council on Problem Gambling at NYProblemGambling.org.