New York Approves Mobile Sports Betting - First State to Allocate Betting Tax Revenue for Grants to Sports Programs for Underserved Youth


The state of New York approved mobile sports betting April 7, 2021, and in doing so becomes the first state to allocate a portion of the state tax revenue from sports betting to fund annual grants for in state "sports programs for underserved youth under the age of eighteen." In the first year of mobile sports betting 1% of state tax revenue would  go to youth sports grants. After that a fixed annual amount of $5 million from mobile sports betting tax revenue will be allocated for youth sports grants,
 
This funding of grants became possible through the initiative of NY Assemblymember Monica Wallace from Erie County in Western NY. She heard of the idea from a Project Play Western New York discussion on inequity in youth sports funding and the need for alternative funding sources. Project Play WNY, a member of the Youth Sports Collaborative Network (YSCN), is a collective impact to change the narrative around youth sports to increase the value sports play in youth development.

Assemblymember Wallace pitched the idea to her colleagues in the New York State legislature. Assemblymember Pretlow and Senator Addabbo, who chair gaming committees in their respective houses and share Wallace’s commitment to creating more equitable communities, liked the idea and agreed to include the initiative in their negotiations over the sports betting bill.
 
During the last few weeks in March, there was a collective effort by youth sports organizations to show their support for this proposal with the state's budget deadline of March 31 approaching. Project Play WNY introduced Assemblymember Wallace to the Youth Sports Collaborative Network (YSCN). At the same time, LeagueApps, which provides a youth sports management platform, connected with Assemblymember Wallace.
 
This led to LeagueApps and YSCN working together to create a letter of support for youth sports organizations to sign on. The letter included findings from YSCN's 2020 survey of SBYD nonprofits, LeagueApps also organized a webinar on March 25th with Assemblymember Wallace to explain the funding opportunity mobile sports betting could provide to encourage more nonprofits to sign the letter. YSCN coordinated with Ryan DiNunzio of YSCN member Algonquin Sports for Kids to inform the Western NY youth sports community to sign on to the letter. 
 
The letter was sent on March 26th to key NY legislators and the Governor. Over 40 youth sports organizations from down state (NYC) and up state (WNY) signed on. 
 
Next step is to influence the administrative implementation of the grants by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services to ensure funding goes as intended to youth sports programs for underserved youth.