By JOSEPH SPECTOR and ANNA GRONEWOLD
Presented by CWA District 1
Most gambling insiders figured New York would leap to the top of the mobile sports betting world because it’s the largest state in the nation to add it.
But $3.5 billion in revenue already in two months?
Even that has surpassed expectations.
“The initial surge of promotional spending has died down a bit and a post-football slowdown is expected. But New York remains on a remarkable pace,” said Mike Mazzeo, an analyst forPlayNY.com, a sports betting site.
After payouts to winners — and there was plenty due to heavy promotions, such as free bets and matching deposits — that left nearly $238 million in “gross gaming revenue” – of which New York gets 51 percent and the rest goes to the eight operators.
That’s already $121 million for New York’s coffers, and that’ll likely mean the yearly revenue from sports betting will outpace the state’s budget projections of $375 million in the coming fiscal year that starts April 1. The state estimates its annual revenue will hit $518 million by 2027.
New weekly figures came out today showing$359 million bet over the past week,, but realize this: The NCAA tournament starts next week, and that will be another boon for the mobile sports betting industry.
So expect another bump in revenue.
Still, it hasn’t been all rosy for the operators themselves, particularly since New York has the highest tax rate on mobile sports betting in the nation.
Earlier this week, Argus Researchdowngraded DraftKings, one of the leading sites in New York, over concerns of stiff competition and gaming growth waning.
Here’s the four top sites in New York for total handle, through Feb. 27:
HAPPY FRIDAY:We made it! It’s the end of the week, so enjoy this afternoon's roundup. We’ll be back Monday afternoon with a look at budget negotiations, which should heat up in earnest next week as the March 31 deadline for an on-time deal fast approaches.
From the Capitol
SPRING FORWARD, SNOW BACK:Yes, we’ll be getting more daylight Sunday as we push the clocks forward. But, no, we’re not done with the snow.
Heavy snow is expected across most of New York beginning Friday night and continuing through Saturday, with six to 12 inches expected for most areas, Gov. Kathy Hochul says. Parts of the North Country, Mohawk Valley and Central New York may get up to 18 inches of snow with strong winds.
Hochul directed state agencies to deploy emergency response assets to fight the storm. "Though the clocks are changing this weekend, New York isn't done with winter weather just yet," Hochul said in a statement.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS THIS WEEKEND? Speaking of the weekend, if you’re snowed in, it might be an opportunity to review the Senate and Assembly one-house budget resolutions, which outline lawmakers’ priorities ahead of budget negotiations with the governor.
Sources told POLITICO that the one-house budgets are expected to be released this weekend so lawmakers can vote on them as soon as Monday. Since they are resolutions, they don't need to age three days before they are voted on — like bills do.
Already, we’re getting a sense of some of the priorities, or lack thereof. The one house planswon't include mayoral control of New York City schools, whileit will include $3 billion for universal child care.
FROM CITY HALL
TURNOUT TURNAROUND:“Let me begin by defining the problem briefly,” Frederick Schaffer, head of the city’s Campaign Finance Board, said at a Center for New York City Law breakfast today. “In sum, the turnout in New York City elections is disturbingly low.” He offered two proposals to goose the numbers: Get rid of partisan primaries and move city elections to even years to coincide with state contests.
Because of the overwhelming advantageregistered Democrats have in the city, independents and registered Republicans rarely have the chance to play a meaningful role in city elections, which are typically decided in the Democratic primary, Schaffer said. That makes for a sleepy general contest.
To engage more voters, the city could either hold an open primary where the top finishers from any party go onto the general, or nix the primary altogether. Moving elections could similarly increase turnout, which rarely exceeds a quarter of eligible voters, by pairing them with gubernatorial, state and even federal midterm elections.
Changes to the primary process could be done through the City Council, and in the past they have had aninfluential backer: Mayor Eric Adams. Moving the election year would require a constitutional amendment at the state level.
Schaffer, who was not speaking on behalf of the CFB, cautioned that a powerful constituency could emerge in opposition to the proposals. “Politicians naturally tend to favor the system by which they were elected,” he said. To wit: in November, Adams has saidhe supports the city’s current party primary system. — Joe Anuta
TAKEAWAY ON ADAMS: Adams has been in office a little over three months now. But what’s going on in his head? POLITICO’s Ruby Cramer wrote adetailed piece on the nonstop mayor. Here are some takeaways:
— The man of many metaphors. If there’s one thing New Yorkers should know about Adams, it would be that he often drops metaphors throughout his day. Some include: Crises can either be burials or plantings. Crime is a sea of violence, flowing from many rivers, all of which must be dammed. Children are slipping through the system, falling into raging waters, floating downstream. The solutions need to be upstream solutions.
— Changing the face of democracy. Adams isn’t any typical New York City mayor. He’s the second Black mayor of the city, gets compared to "Night Mayor" Jimmy Walker and follows the footsteps of former Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio, who never saw eye to eye. The Democrat who became a Republican who became a Democrat again presents himself as a new brand for politics — using the notion that a person can be more than one thing at once.
— The perfectly imperfect mayor.POLITICO New York reported last month that Adams does indeed eat fish. After repeatedly telling reporters that he follows a plant-based-centered life, he told POLITICO that he never lied about the fish. “They never asked, ‘Eric, uh, did he eat A, B or C? I was very clear. They took it and turned it into, ‘What! He lied about it.’ No, I didn’t lie about it,” he said.
— A methodical police officer. Adams says he's “practically pragmatic” — causing him to be reactive, as if he's following a point system, wherever it may take him.
— Adams the introvert. Even though Adams is always surrounded by people, he refers to himself as an introvert who needs alone time. He said “I’m a very shy person.” — Deanna Garcia
NOTHING TO SEE HERE:Top aides to Adamshave reportedly been involving themselves in a pretty minor political affair: A Brooklyn district leader race that would have likely escaped their scrutiny, were it not for the candidate’s history as a thorn in their side.
So, Adams’s chief of staff, Frank Carone, and his deputy, Menashe Shapiro, have been working to oppose their rival David Schwartz with one of their own employees, who declared his candidacy earlier this week. Today, Adams tried to put the matter to bed, insisting there is a “firewall” between politics and government in his administration.
“I’m not aware of it, and the importance is to always have a firewall between politics and governance. We have that,” Adams said. “What people do in their personal lives is up to them, but we would never bring politics into City Hall.” — Sally Goldenberg and Madina Touré
The Campaign Trail
NEWS BUSINESS PLAN FOR ALBANY:GOP candidate for governor Harry Wilson today unveiled a multi-part plan to reform Albany — almost a prerequisite for New York’s gubernatorial hopefuls — that he said relies heavily on his experience turning around failing companies.
“You might say, ‘Harry, there are lots of problems in New York State,’ and sadly there are, but all those are outgrowths of the problems we face because of our broken state government,” he said. “It’s a culture of failure and incompetence that leads to bad policies.”
Wilson, who served with the Obama administration task force that worked to turn around General Motors and Chrysler, says his plan would emphasize two parts.
The first is a six-part proposal to get voters “better choices and better competition” so they can choose better leadership, he said. That includes initiatives like easier ballot access for independent candidates, campaign finance transparency, fixing election system inefficiencies and vulnerabilities (he’s looking at you, NYC BOE), and ranked-choice voting.
The second partis “driving accountability for those same people” that New Yorkers choose, he said. Among other things, he wants eight-year term limits for all statewide elected officials and 12-year term limits for all legislative offices, a recall mechanism (which New York does not have) and an independent, “professionalized” Joint Commission on Public Ethics that would focus on non-political, non-partisan members, he said. — Anna Gronewold
ON THE BEATS
HEALTH CARE —Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) announced legislation to authorize Medicaid to cover long-term stays in large residential mental health facilities. The bill (NY S8422), introduced in late February, would direct the state to apply for a Medicaid waiver so it can reimburse for stays at facilities considered “institutions for mental diseases” with more than sixteen patient beds — payments which are currently excluded for adults aged 21 to 64.
Hoylman said the legislation“will allow critical Medicaid funding to be used to help increase the number of psychiatric beds throughout the state, just when we need it most.” It has been referred to the Senate’s Health Committee.
— The New York State Association of County Health Officials, meanwhile,joined public health officials, advocates and lawmakers today in calling forincreased funding for childhood lead poisoning prevention efforts. They argued that while a 2019 law, which lowered the actionable blood lead level needed to trigger public health interventions, was estimated to cost $40 million annually to implement, the stateprovided only about $9 million. That gap, they said, has created a “significant barrier to effective implementation of the law.”
“We are calling on state leaders to provide the support we need to ensure our work to protect children exposed to lead can be fully engaged and sustained,” NYSACHO President and Onondaga County Commissioner of Health Indu Gupta said in a statement. — Shannon Young.
EDUCATION:The city announced it will expand the “Summer Rising” program, a free academic and enrichment program created under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, to 110,000 students in elementary school and middle school, an increase of roughly 10,000 seats from the previous year. Enrollment for the program will start in early April. The city’s Department of Education and the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) administer the program.
Adams said the program will be a mixture of academics and enrichment activities like visiting museums and stadiums.
“When our children get back in school in September, they have a summer loss,” Adams said during a press conference at the Bronx Delta School this morning. “Affluent communities get back in school in September, they have a summer enhancement and so our children are starting out behind instead of starting out ahead of time.”
The Adams administration is building on the program by offering Friday sessions and optional extended hours, more inclusive programming for District 75 students — students with significant challenges like autism spectrum disorders and multiple disabilities — and students with 12-month Individualized Education Programs. The administration also said it will offer an earlier enrollment period to help families with planning their summers.
In January, the city announced100,000 summer jobs for city youth.
DYCD-funded community-based organizations will offer K-8 programming at DOE schools citywide, focusing on high-need neighborhoods. Six weeks of programming for middle school students and seven weeks for elementary school students will also be available in July and August.
Jennifer March, executive director of the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, praised the city’s expansion of the program. “Today's announcement marks a sea change for NYC's youth services system and we look forward to working with the administration to ensure that youth citywide benefit this summer and that we continue to create more pathways of opportunity for New York's youth and support working parents,” March said in a statement. — Madina Touré
AROUND NEW YORK
— Roughly 35 percent of households in New York State live in environmentally “disadvantaged communities,”Times Union reports.
— After fighting for a year,500 Bronxites will be able to keep their rent stabilized apartments.
— New York electricity and gas customersowe almost $1.8 billion as of January 2022.
— Snow will delay Albany’s 72nd annual St. Patrick’s Day Paradeuntil March 19.