NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — According to a new study, New Jersey is raking in the dough from New Yorkers anxious to place bets. As a result, there is a push to legalize sports betting in the Empire State.

They are scenes that drive some New York lawmakers crazy: eager bettors placing wagers on sports events, spending billions every year, in New Jersey.

“I’m getting the complaints. I go to the coffee shop and I hear it from my people. They don’t want to go to Jersey. They don’t want to get in their car, or jump on the train and go to Jersey. They want to stay here,” state Sen. Joseph Addabbo told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer on Wednesday.

MORELegal Sports Betting Is Likely Coming To New York, But Not To Residents’ Smartphones

Addabbo, a Democrat who represents Howard Beach and other parts of Queens, said he has new ammunition to get the Legislature to legalize online and mobile sports betting.

A new study shows that last year New Yorkers, who often call friends and relatives in New Jersey to place wagers, bet $837 million on sporting events in New Jersey. That was one-fifth of the $4.6 billion that was bet in the Garden State in 2019.

“The issue that we face in losing revenue to New Jersey and losing jobs to Jersey and losing educational funding to Jersey is only going to grow,” Addabbo said.

The senator has introduced a new bill that he said would reap millions for New York, which is facing a whopping $6 billion budget gap.

He estimates the state could gain $48 million for selling four gambling licenses, plus collecting 8.5% in taxes on in-person bets, 12.5% in taxes on every online or mobile wager.

“We need revenue. And so, we stand to gain upwards of $200 million this year alone if we enact mobile sports betting. Industry regulations will say the number is much
higher than that in the out years,” Addabbo said.

So how do New Yorkers feel about the state possibly legalizing sports betting?

“Yes, absolutely, because there are so many people that have like bookies or people that they go to and all that revenue could really come to New York and help us,” said Susan Garofolo of Howard Beach.

“Could take it or leave it,” added Carl Catapano of Howard Beach. “Because you start a bad habit. There’s a lot of people with a lot of bad habits around here.”

“It should be legal because everybody does it anyway,” said Dotsy Davis of Glendale. “You don’t have to worry about the bookies coming to break your legs if you don’t pay up.”

“I think it would generate revenue for New York,” said Michael Siderakis of Bayside.

Addabbo said he’d like to get the bill passed by the April 1 budget deadline. The Senate is on board, but the Assembly is not. A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was noncommittal, saying only that the speaker would discuss it with his members.

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