Let’s start here: The details about how online sports betting will work in New York are still scant and not entirely clear from the plan that will be a part of the state budget.
But we can still take the information we have and apply it to the real world, and see how it might work. And an interesting test case is the sports betting partner of Penn National Gaming: Barstool Sports.
Previously, Barstool negotiated a deal for skin access via Rivers Casino Schenectady. But in the new world order of NY online sports betting, does that even matter?
Here’s a look at what might be on tap for Barstool if it wants to get into the New York market?
The good for Barstool Sportsbook in NY
There’s at least one piece of good news for Barstool: It doesn’t appear that access deals via casinos matter that much anymore.
Market access deals don’t matter?
As a “second skin” partner of Rivers, their market access was speculative at best and useless at worst.
It appears that the state will take proposals to operate from anyone, presuming they also get a deal to house their servers at one of the four commercial casinos. (The sports betting plan makes this a necessity to fit under the state’s constitution.)
That means Barstool at least has a path into the state.
Barstool might be an attractive option for NY
Again, there’s a lot to be sorted out in the details. But the state apparently is authorizing up two main operators, with multiple sportsbooks allowed by those one or two operators.
Who gets those licenses is probably key for who might get “sub-licensed,” but that’s a lot of ifs. Penn National does at least have a lot of agreements for sports betting access in other states and might be owed a favor. The easiest way in would be to get one of the top two licenses via the proposal process.
In any event, if you’re New York, you want to pick the one or two operators with the most potential in the short and long term. That would likely mean the biggest operators would get deference. The likes of DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Barstool would be the companies that make the most sense for the state. They are generally among the top operators in every state they serve.
Maybe there’s a lot of sportsbooks?
The law sets up a “minimum” of four sportsbook apps via the operators and skins.
We have no idea how many apps there might be, and our guess is the primary operators will try to limit competition. But if either of the main operators makes it open for all comers, Barstool could find a way in.
But, this is not the most likely scenario, albeit one to consider.
The bad for Barstool Sportsbook in NY
You can also find reasons not to be excited about Barstool’s chances of getting into New York.
Not suitable as a lottery vendor?
The lottery is picking two sportsbook operators to partner with.
We’re not going to get into the history of Barstool Sports in detail here, but suffice it to say it has potential issues as not being a squeaky clean brand.
Will that give the lottery pause? It’s hard to say, but all things being equal, it could be weight on the scale.
No transition with neighboring states?
Barstool is in Pennsylvania, but it is not in New Jersey, and it has no path to being in Connecticut.
Why is that important? Lots of people live or work in two of those three states, and having a seamless sports betting presence should be a benefit in the RFP process. (DraftKings has market access in CT, for what it’s worth.)
Barstool can’t pitch that.
Penn/Barstool will need a favor, probably?
Let’s assume that Penn and Barstool don’t get one of the two primary operator slots. It will need help from somewhere.
So, who will let in a potentially big competitor into the market? Well, again, we have to do a lot of speculation.
DraftKings, at least, has gotten market access in some states via Penn National. So has MGM. Would either of them do Penn a solid in order to keep the relationship on steady ground? Maybe, maybe not.
But, Barstool will not be an attractive choice because of its threat as a competitor.