Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he will propose expanding sports gambling and legalizing marijuana in his state budget proposal as ways to help close a $15 billion budget deficit.
Cuomo said the sports betting will be run by an existing licensed gambling casino in the state, but it would operate similar to the state’s lottery system to maximize revenues to help close New York’s budget gap.
“I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money,” Cuomo said. “I’m here to raise funds for the state.”
Expanded sports gambling could bring in an additional $500 million a year. Legalizing the adult recreational use of marijuana would eventually bring in $300 million a year. Some of that money would be steered toward communities adversely affected by the state’s decades-long prohibition of the drug.
Cuomo said he’s hopeful, now that Democrats have been successful winning Senate seats in Georgia, that Congress and President-elect Joe Biden, once he’s inaugurated, will craft a federal relief package to help close more of the state’s deficit.