The cratering of revenues at New York’s casinos during the coronavirus pandemic has devastated government coffers and turned the state’s schools and into big losers.
Casino revenues dedicated to education and the state treasury have plummeted by $600 million in the current fiscal year, state Gaming Commission reports reviewed by the Post reveal.
The sobering number comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveils his budget plan Tuesday to close a multi-billion shortfall fueled by the COVID-19 outbreak that ravaged New York’s economy. Among his revenue producers include legalizing mobile sports betting.
The casinos were closed for five months and produced no revenues for government coffers from April to August as New York became the coronavirus epicenter and Cuomo ordered a drastic emergency lockdown to contain the spread of the killer bug.
But fewer gamblers showed up when the casinos reopened, leading to a drop in typical monthly revenues.
The four horse track casinos generated $906.3 million for education during the fiscal year that ran from April, 2019 to March 31, 2020, according to the Gaming Commission.
So far this year, the track casino revenues earmarked for education is just $222 million, with three months remaining in the fiscal year. Under current betting trends, the casinos could generate another $180 million for the remaining three months — clearing $400 million.
That’s a drop of $500 million.
For example last year, Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct race track in Queens directed $250.3 million toward education.
So far this year, Resorts World has generated $58.8 million. That figure will likely grow to $100 million when the last three months are tallied.
That means education funding just at the Aqueduct casino alone has shrunk by about $150 million.
The alarming drop was repeated at the Empire City casino at Yonkers Raceway, which produced $290.5 million in education funding last year, compared to $60.9 million so far this year.
The loss was also stark up at the four upstate commercial casinos. Resort World’s Catskills casino delivered $82 million in education and other gaming tax revenue to the government coffers last year — compared to just $23 million thus far this year. When factoring in the final three months, tax revenue will likely be $40 million lower than last year.
The percentage loss in revenue was similar at the upstate Rivers, Del Lago and Tioga casinos.
The Gaming Commission provided no immediate figures for the haul from its Lottery games.
“Revenue was down in the 1st quarter and since then it has increased. The $850 million Mega Millions jackpot, $730 million Powerball jackpot and the $15.5 million Lotto jackpot have helped revenue over the last couple of weeks,” said spokesman Brad Maione.
Some lawmakers said the loss of casino revenues during the pandemic bolsters the case to legalize mobile sports betting, a form of app-based wagering that is not reliant on in-person visits to casinos..
“Under my proposal all casinos benefit through mobile sports betting by placing bets off site,” said Gary Pretlow (D-Mt. Vernon ), chairman of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee.
Currently, New Yorkers can only wager on sports by showing up one of the four upstate casinos.
Last month, nearly $1 billion in sports bets were wagered in New Jersey, the betting site odds.com reports. Studies indicate that 20 percent of Jersey mobile sports bettors are New Yorkers.
“New Jersey takes our money. New Yorkers go to New Jersey to bet on sports. Now is the time to do mobile sports betting,” said state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Queens), chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.