Mobile sports betting to launch in New York this weekend
Mobile sports betting in New York can begin as early as this weekend after the state’s Gaming Commission announced Thursday that four operators have met the guidelines for launching.
Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street Interactive can all start accepting wagers any time after 9 am ET Saturday, the Gaming Commission said in a statement.
Rush Street, which operates as BetRivers, said it will be ready to roll out its app this weekend.
“We are grateful for the trust of the New York State Gaming Commission and for its professional and efficient support while we worked diligently to satisfy all launch requirements,” CEO Richard Schwartz said in a statement. “RSI is thrilled to build on our heritage as the operator of New York’s first and most successful retail sports betting destination by launching online sports betting in the Empire State on the first day it is available.”
The four were among a group of nine sports betting operators selected by the state two months ago through a solicitation process. The remaining operators – Bally Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, Resorts World and WynnBET – will launch once they’ve met the statutory and regulatory requirements, the Gaming Commission’s statement said.
The commission expects to approve those apps on a rolling basis.
A Saturday launch would meet the goal of state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens. The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee chairman wanted to see mobile sports betting in New York before next month’s Super Bowl.
This upcoming weekend marks the last week of the NFL’s regular season. In addition, the College Football Championship will take place on Monday.
Addabbo said that the early launch is “great news” for the state, which will use the tax revenue from mobile wagering to fund education, addiction programs and youth sports.
“I want to thank the Gaming Commission for their efficiency in ensuring that these operators met all of the requirements to bring their mobile sports betting product to the people of New York ahead of the NFL playoffs,” the senator said. “I look forward to the other five operators satisfying the statutory and regulatory requirements necessary to launch in the near future and working with the Hochul Administration and Gaming Commission.”
Since the Supreme Court’s 2018 repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, legal sports betting has spread rapidly. At the end of 2021, 33 states have passed laws or initiatives allowing retail sportsbooks, mobile betting apps or both. In that time, mobile wagering has dominated the market in states where it’s available.
Sports betting has been legal in New York since 2019. However, it’s been limited to operating in brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at the state’s commercial and tribal casinos, all located in upstate New York.
Without any brick-and-mortar facilities in the more populated downstate region, sports bettors in the New York City area had to go to New Jersey to place a legal wager or bet through an offshore app or a local bookie, both of which are illegal.
It’s been estimated that New Yorkers account for about 25 percent of the legal sports betting market in New Jersey. That has helped New Jersey rival Nevada – where sports betting has been legal for decades – as the county’s top sports betting market.
Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo rebuffed attempts to legalize mobile wagering in New York. However, he relented about a year ago as he and other state officials were staring down a potential multi-billion budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Cuomo set certain conditions for how the licenses would be awarded. Instead of letting lawmakers set the tax rate and issue licenses to casinos, as most states have done, Cuomo insisted on an open solicitation process. That meant operators would bid for licenses and propose the tax rate.
The solicitation was set up to ensure the tax rate on sports betting would be at least 50%. Only smaller states that offer sports betting through their lotteries have a comparable tax rate on sports betting revenues.
Six bids were submitted, with those bids representing a total of 14 interest operators. The Gaming Commission chose to accept two bids representing eight platform providers and nine operators, with those parties accepting a 51% tax.
The eight platform providers also agreed to pay a $25 million fee for a 10-year license.
Even with the exorbitant tax rate, New York is expected to become the country’s largest sports betting market. It has the nation’s fourth-largest population and third-largest economy.
According to budget revenue estimates, New York expects to get more than $350 million from taxes on sports betting operators in fiscal year 2023. Eventually, they expect the state to get around $500 million annually.
Only Florida has approved sports betting of the states with a larger population. However, the Seminole Tribe of Florida suspended its Hard Rock Sportsbook last month after a federal judge threw out the tribal gaming compact the tribe reached with Florida officials. U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Dabney Friedrich determined that the Hard Rock betting app, which launched in Florida in November, could not operate statewide under federal tribal gaming law. The tribe eventually pulled the app after a federal appeals court denied a stay while it appeals the ruling.