It was in April, some six months ago, that New York state approved and set in motion the legalization of online and mobile sports betting for the Empire State. Yet here we are, three weeks into the NFL season, and still, there’s no access to sports betting through the web or via a mobile device legally available to sports bettors anywhere in the state. And it would appear that online and mobile sports betting in New York won’t be arriving anytime soon.
Industry analysts believe that New York represents the largest untapped resource in the United States market when it comes to sports betting. Although the state currently offers retail, in-person sports betting, in 2020, New York garnered just $10,768,736 in sports betting revenue. That created $1,094,832 in tax revenue for the state coffers. Legalized sports betting is offered in person and only at four upstate casinos.
While that seems like a lot of money, compare it to what’s being garnered across the state line in New Jersey, where online sports betting has been legal and regulated since 2018. Last year, the Garden State handled $6,016,968,399 in sports. New Jersey rivals mighty Nevada in the showdown to see which state can proclaim itself to be the No. 1 sports betting state in the USA.
Much of that money comes from frustrated New Yorkers who cross into New Jersey in order to be able to place their sports wagers via their mobile devices.
Even tiny New Hampshire, which allows online sports betting, doubles the monthly revenue of what New York takes in from its retail sports betting outlets.
What’s The Holdup?
New York government officials estimate that fully operational sports betting could generate as much as $500 million a year in revenue for the state.
Previous New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who introduced the mobile and online sports betting proposal last April 6 as part of the state’s 2022 budget, believed at the time that New York didn’t need to follow the standard sports betting gameplan around the USA of having online sports betting sites partner with a land-based casino in order to gain a license to operate.
He was of the belief that the state Lottery Division could develop and operate a government-run mobile sports betting system. Under the plan, casinos would be in partnership. However, it wouldn’t be a casino-run system.
Instead, the state has gone ahead and accepted licence applications from six sports betting providers that would be looking to partner with at least four operators, expected to be the state’s retail casinos.
Among the major sports betting players applying to get a piece of online action in New York are Bet365, DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet, BetMGM. Bally Bet, Rush Street (Bet Rivers, Sugarhouse), Penn Sports (Barstool), Caesars, WynnBET, PointsBet and theScore Bet.
The Latest Timetable
New York Governor Kathy Hochul (New York Senate Photo. CC By 2.0 license)
The winning bids from among these groups won’t be announced until December 6. Once that hurdle is cleared, what’s still unclear is how much more time will lapse before New York sports bettors will be able to legally whip out their phone and place a wager on the Knicks or the Rangers.
“The State Legislature established a timeframe for the competitive bidding process of licenses for mobile sports wagering, requiring selection — to the extent practicable — no later than 150 days after receipt of applications,” New York Gaming Commission spokesman Brad Maione told Lohud.com.
“The Commission fully anticipates being within the deadline established by law.”
State lawmakers are hopeful that online sports betting will be a reality in New York prior to the end of the current NFL season.
“I still remain optimistic that if not by the end of the year, by the beginning of next year, that we have our operators and providers and we’re taking our first bets — and certainly by the Super Bowl,” said Senate Racing Committee chairman Joseph Addabbo, a Democrat from Queens.
At this point, such optimism seems about as likely to come to fruition as the Giants or Jets playing in that Super Bowl game.