Regulators Give Thumbs Up For Four NY Online Sportsbooks To Launch Saturday

Written By Mike Mazzeo on January 6, 2022
NHL New York Thumbs Up

Legal online sports betting is officially coming to the Big Apple this weekend — just in time for the entire NFL playoffs.

The New York State Gaming Commission announced Thursday that four sportsbooks — Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street — can begin accepting legal bets on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

The remaining five operators (BetMGM, Bally’s, WynnBet, PointsBet and Resorts World) still need to pass through regulatory inspection prior to launch. The dates of those launches remain TBD.

NY becomes the 18th state to have full online sports betting. The NYSGC announced the nine winning operators — part of a pair of Super Bids — on Nov. 8. Exactly two months later, there will be launch.

What NY online sportsbooks will launch Saturday?

Rivers (its own casino in Schenectady), DraftKings (del Lago), FanDuel (Tioga Downs) and Caesars (Turning Stone) all had previous casino ties to the state. All servers for the operators must be housed at one of the four NY upstate commercial casinos.

While missing out on basically the entire NFL regular season was a significant loss for the state, getting NY online sports betting live before the NFL playoffs is a win. The wild-card round runs Jan. 15-17, followed by the divisional round a week later, and giving way to the conference championship games Jan. 30.

The goal had always been to launch before the Feb. 13 Super Bowl, which serves as a significant benchmark for New York in terms of how it performs on the biggest sports betting day of the year.

In recent days, word had begun to pick up around the industry that the process was being expedited. Many had originally expected launch to take place at the end of January. However, Sen. Joe Addabbo said it could happen during the second or third week. Obviously this weekend’s debut of online sports betting beats even that timeline.

“Today’s announcement by the New York State Gaming Commission that four of the nine licensed Mobile Sports Wagering Operators have been approved to begin operations starting on Saturday, January 8, 2022, is great news for New York in terms of revenue, new funding for education, addiction programs and youth sports, as well as new jobs,” Addabbo said in a statement.

“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. 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.”

What to do with the 51% tax rate on NY online sports betting?

New York still faces questions about its 51% tax rate, which could impact the lines and promotions given to prospective NY bettors who have wagered in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut or with their illegal bookie.

But after a long, arduous process in which former Gov. Andrew Cuomo made life difficult for policymakers and cost the state millions — if not billions — of dollars, online sports betting in New York is finally going to launch.

“It progressed at the speed of a tortoise, but I think the results are going to represent the hare,” NY state assemblyman Gary Pretlow told PlayNY. “It took a long time to get rolling, it really shouldn’t have taken this long. There was a lot of opposition from the former administration. (Former Gov. Cuomo) wasn’t a real fan of any form of gaming. So things moved very slowly. But now this is up and running, and hopefully it works out the way they anticipate it working out.

“I still have my reservations, and I still wanted to have more entities involved, but today the state’s taken in over $200 million in licensing fees and we’re well on our way to being the sports betting capital of the world.”

Photo by AP / Bruce Bennett
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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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