Starting Off Strong: New York Sports Betting Kicks Off 2021 With Record Month

Written By Martin Harris on February 19, 2021 - Last Updated on May 1, 2023

January was a big month for sports, with basketball and hockey seasons in full swing and several big NFL playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl.

So it should come as no surprise the sports betting at New York commercial casinos benefited greatly.

In fact, it was the biggest month ever in terms of gross gaming revenue from sports betting. Together, the four sportsbooks collected almost $3.57 million in revenue.

Best month for NY sports betting since 2019 launch

It was the best month by far in terms of revenue since New York first began allowing the state’s commercial casinos to accept regulated wagers in July 2019.

Together the casinos reported more than $3.5 million in total gross gaming revenue from sports betting in January.

That total represented a better-than 58% increase over the almost $2.26 million in sports betting revenue during December. When comparing year over year, January’s total reflected a spike of over 83% more revenue than the $1.94 million reported this time last year.

Rivers Casino paces NY sports betting crowd

Among the four sportsbooks, the one at Rivers Casino & Resort was the biggest winner with close to $1.43 million in revenue. It was Rivers’ biggest month ever by a wide margin. It was also the sportsbook’s fourth instance of bettering the $1 million mark and the third time in the last four months.

The sportsbook at del Lago Resort and Casino also enjoyed its best month ever with $1.27 million in revenue. It was the first time the del Lago sportsbook cracked seven figures in revenue.

Resorts World Catskills collected close to $480,000, its second-best month ever. Meanwhile, Tioga Downs Casino Resort notched a new record-high with just over $390,000.

NY sports betting revenue still far behind NJ, PA

Such totals are impressive when compared to the four NY sportsbooks’ past performances. That said, they pale in comparison to how much revenue neighboring states are enjoying.

For example, New Jersey sportsbooks reported more than $82.6 million in revenue for January. Over in Pennsylvania, the sportsbooks’ revenue hit $34.1 million the same month.

Both of those states have more sportsbooks, to be sure. But the big difference with New York is that both NJ and PA also allow the sportsbooks to accept wagers online in addition to in-person betting.

Much as is the case in other states that allow both retail and online sports betting, the majority of sports betting revenue in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania comes from online wagering. For example, just over 89% of sports betting revenue in New Jersey stemmed from online wagering.

Of course, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected those figures, with casinos nationwide experiencing closures. As a result, bettors’ only option was to wager online. That said, even before the pandemic online wagering has routinely accounted for the majority of sports betting revenue in NJ and PA, typically representing 75-80% of overall revenue.

Adding online option would significantly bolster NY sports betting

The timing is nonetheless favorable for a strong monthly report of sports betting revenue in New York. In recent weeks, New York lawmakers have been considering the possibility of legalizing online wagering.

Online sports betting bills were filed in both the state Assembly and Senate last month.  The bills would allow the four commercial casinos plus three casino-operating tribes each to apply to operate two online sportsbooks for a maximum of 14.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also voiced support for online sports wagering in New York. His vision, though, would involve state regulators choosing only a single operator for the entire state.

However it happens, adding an online option would no doubt produce much higher sports betting revenue figures than the sportsbooks currently enjoy.

Photo by AP / Steve Luciano
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