It isn’t an April Fool’s joke, at least not an intentional one. New York is getting online sports betting apps. How that will look, how many apps, when it will happen, and if it can work are all questions without answers right now though.
If you don’t understand what is going on with New York sportsbooks, you aren’t alone. Even though the law is now signed and officially on the books, there is still quite a bit to figure out about how the industry will operate. First up is for the NY State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) to draft complete regulations and to outline the parameters for applicants seeking one of the two master sports betting licenses in the state.
We are here to keep tabs on all the news leading up to the launch of NY sports betting apps, so bookmark the page and keep checking in for the latest news.
July 28, 2021
NYSGC To Provide Clarification On Selection Process
The deadline has passed for interested parties to submit questions to the New York State Gaming Commission regarding online sports betting in New York. Now, the commission will pore over those queries before posting applicable answers Aug. 2.
As it did prior to releasing its initial round of questions-and-answers last week, the NYSGC looks to help provide more clarity regarding its request for applications (RFA) that it issued earlier this month.
Those answers provided a more detailed look into the selection process, particularly how the NYSGC will score submitted bids.
When the commission posts its second round of answers, interested parties will have only a week left to submit their applications to become a legal sports betting platform provider in New York. Once the application period closes Aug. 9, the NYSGC will have up to 150 days to make its selections.
The hope is for regulated online sports betting to go live in time for Super Bowl LVI, which is scheduled for Feb. 13, 2022.
July 23, 2021
NYSGC Releases Q&A Document For Perspective Applicants
Two weeks after issuing the request for applications (RFA) for online sports betting in the Empire State, the New York State Gaming Commission released a set of questions and answers regarding the application and approval process.
Among the key points addressed, the NYSGC reaffirmed its scoring system, detailing that it will award points to applicants that could add up to a maximum score of 75 points. Applicants must earn a minimum of 60 points to remain under NYSGC consideration.
Scoring will depend on a number of factors, as detailed within the RFA. For example, higher tax rates including in submissions will receive more points. And the commission will use a sliding scale to award those points. A tax rate of 49%, then, would earn more than a rate of 42%. This clarification came about after the RFA noted that rates between 40% and 50% will receive up to 15 points.
The NYSGC also cleared up how bonus points will be awarded for tribal revenue sharing agreements. The commission will give up to five points to any applicant with such a deal in place. The exact number of points, though, depends on the overall value of the agreement.
Indeed, the NYSGC covered many items within its latest question-and-answer release, as reported by our own Martin Harris.
July 19, 2021
NY Casinos Take Revenue Hit In June, But Sportsbooks Thriving
However, betting at retail sportsbooks in the state spiked. In fact, with more than $1.85 million in gross gaming revenue, June was the second straight month with an increased profit.
BetRivers and DraftKings sportsbooks led the way with more than $626,000 each. The two of them combined for 75% of sports betting revenue.
After revenue jumped 17% from April to May, another increase of 14% occurred in June.
July 13, 2021
Legal Online Sports Betting In NY May Not Be Ready By Super Bowl LVI
It was never really possible for legal online sports betting to be up and running in time for the start of the 2021 NFL season. Lawmakers knew at least this much.
Considering how much wagering occurs on the league’s championship, though, it seemed only a bit of a stretch for the mobile betting market to launch in time for Super Bowl LVI in February 2022, depending on how long the selection process took for the New York State Gaming Commission.
Yet with the NYSGC’s delay in releasing a request for applications, launching online betting in New York by early 2022 might be a stretch.
As our own Martin Harris detailed, because of how the law is written, meeting that goal might prove difficult.
After all, the law requires the application process to last 30 days, creating an Aug. 9 deadline. Following that, the New York State Gaming Commission has up to 150 days to select its sports betting platform providers. Certainly, the NYSGC could make its choice within that 150-day window. But if the commission uses the entirety of that time, its selection wouldn’t come until Jan. 6, 2022. Considering the Super Bowl is scheduled for Feb. 13, it would seem difficult, if not improbable, for the state to choose its partners, test everything and get apps launched in a month.
Of course, crazier things have been done.
July 9, 2021
NYSGC Finally Issues Request For Applications
It was a week late doing so, but the New York State Gaming Commission issued a request for applications to help launch the Empire State’s mobile sports betting industry.
The NYSGC had long known the July 1 deadline to send out the RFA. That date, though, came and went without the commission doing so.
Fortunately, just eight days passed before the NYSGC came through. Among the items detailed in the 130-page document is how the NYSGC will select its partners.
The commission will use a point system to determine which platform provider will serve New York sports betting. Submitted bids accumulate points based on a variety of factors, such as how much revenue a platform provider will share with the state and expertise in offering regulated wagering, among other things.
In addition, the NYSGC will award five points to a provider that has a revenue-sharing agreement in place with one of the state’s tribes.
The higher the score a submitted bid receives, the more likely it will be selected to offer online sports betting in New York.
Interested entities now have 30 days to submit their applications to the commission, which will then have up to 150 days to review bids and select the state’s mobile betting partners.
July 7, 2021
NY Congressman John Katko Backs HR4038
A congressman from New York is part of a pair of lawmakers that has sponsored a bill to “remove Federal barriers” as they relate to mobile wagers and tribes.
Rep. John Katko and California Rep. Lou Correa have backed HR 4308, which aims to allow tribes that have gaming agreements with their respective states to accept mobile bets.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act provides a federal legislative basis to allow tribes to reach gaming compact agreements with states within three classifications. Such gaming, if not specifically prohibited by federal law, can only occur on tribal lands.
As such, when it comes to mobile gaming, no one outside those lands can take advantage of tribal offerings.
By removing federal barriers, tribes would be offered the opportunity to generate additional revenue. The proposed bill would establish that the location of online wagers occurs at the location of servers, unless states and tribes agree otherwise, rather than where customers are located.
A similar effort was made in 2019 by Rep. Anthony Brindisi, also from New York. Aimed more directly at online sports betting, the proposal never made it to a committee hearing before the congressional session ended.
New York intends to roll out mobile sports betting by early 2022, courtesy of a budget bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. While the New York State Gaming Commission has emphasized that any sports betting platform provider involving Empire State tribes will receive extra consideration, tribal casino operators in the state have argued that the coming New York mobile betting industry violates exclusivity zones laid out in their compacts with the state.
July 2, 2021
No RFA From NYSGC As July 4 Nears
As we head into Independence Day weekend, we do so without a request for applications (RFA) issued by the New York State Gaming Commission.
State law required the body to send out the RFA by July 1, nearly two and a half months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the budget bill.
On the morning of July 1, a spokesperson with the commission informed Legal Sports Report: “The Commission will meet the statutory requirement for the MSW RFA.”
Instead, the first two days of July will pass without the NYSGC issuing its request.
Stakeholders were hopeful that online sports betting would launch in New York by late 2021. Certainly, the goal was to get the industry off the ground in time for the Super Bowl.
But consider the timeline and how difficult it would be to open mobile betting in the Empire State: 30 days for bidding, 150 days for the NYSGC to review submissions and select its partners. Assuming the commission uses the entire 150 days, that would mean the earliest time for online wagering to go live in late December.
Of course, the NYSGC could choose its platform providers earlier. But, this delay does not exactly instill confidence for a 2021 launch of mobile betting in New York.
June 29, 2021
Request For Proposals From NYSGC Expected Shortly
In two days, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) is expected to issue a request for proposals to parties interested in becoming official sports betting partners in the Empire State.
While some mysteries remain regarding which operators will submit bids to be considered as a New York sports betting provider, we do know some definitive details. For example, we know that a minimum of two platform providers and four sports betting skins will roll out in the Empire State. Selected platform providers will share at least 50% of revenue with the state. Operators will also pay a minimum tax rate of 12%.
What’s more, platform providers must pay a $25 million licensing fee.
Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. told Legal Sports Report that there is ample “enthusiasm by those in the industry” and that “New York will have its fair share of providers and operators to choose from.”
The goal, he noted, is to have NY betting apps launch at some point during the NFL season. The budget bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo notes that the NYSGC must select winning bidders by the end of December, which will follow a 30-day application period starting July 1 and a 150-day period for the commission to pore over bid submissions.
While the Cuomo eventually agreed to a minimum of four sports betting skins, Addabbo said, “I firmly believe we’ll have more than four.”
June 24, 2021
First Sports Illustrated Sportsbook To Launch At The End of 2021 As Part Of 20-Year Pact
A 20-year online gambling joint venture has been formed between 888 and Authentic Brands Group, owner of New York-based Sports Illustrated. The result will be the eventual launch of the first SI Sportsbook toward the end of 2021.
The new venture will begin with a rollout of the sportsbook in Colorado, but there are market access points to open up shop in another three states down the road: Indiana, Iowa and nearby New Jersey.
As part of the deal, Sports Illustrated gains a 4.99% equity stake, while 888 will assume exclusive license for the use of the SI brand and trademarks for online betting. The company will also receive exclusive advertising and editorial integration rights on SI’s digital assets.
The SI Sportsbook will leverage 888’s in-house sportsbook platform, which has yet to go live in the US, with the potential to expand into Canada.
This partnership is another example of a media company getting into the sports betting game. The likes of Fox Bet, theScore and Barstool have launched legal sportsbooks in various jurisdictions.
June 22, 2021
Trainer Bob Baffert Files Lawsuit Following NYRA’s Suspension
Bob Baffert continues to fight after his Kentucky Derby-winning horse was not allowed to race in the Belmont Stakes earlier this month. This time, in the form of a lawsuit.
Prior to the June 5 race, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) suspended the 68-year-old trainer after his horse, Medina Spirit, tested positive for a banned truck after the Derby. While the horse was ultimately cleared to run in the Preakness Stakes, the NYRA decided two days after the second leg of the Triple Crown to suspend Baffert.
The NYRA’s decision prohibits Baffert from entering horses into any horse racing events at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack.
Baffert, though, has continued to deny any wrongdoing regarding Medina Spirit’s failed test, which could have stemmed from an anti-fungal ointment. But the lawsuit does not focus on denial, rather on that the NYRA did not provider Baffert a right to defend himself before the racing association suspended him.
The trainer’s team argues that the suspension came without any formal allegations from the New York Gaming Commission and without any notice whatsoever.
June 18, 2021
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: NY Casinos Can Operate At Full Capacity
Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted all state-mandated coronavirus restrictions, noting that 70% of adults in the Empire State have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Cuomo’s announcement means that New York casinos can operate at full capacity.
That said, properties can still choose to implement methods of prevention, such as capacity restrictions, social distancing rules and health screenings.
For Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady, it has returned to 100% capacity and removed all plexiglass safety barriers from slot machines and table games as well as elsewhere on the property.
Similarly, del Lago Resort & Casino announced it will roll back restrictions on food, beverage and gaming. The casino also took down plexiglass barriers and removed social distancing measures throughout the property. Del Lago will keep its mask policy in place, requiring non-vaccinated guests and employees to still wear masks on the premises.
June 15, 2021
New Amenities Coming To Turning Stone
Some major upgrades are on their way to Turning Stone Resort Casino.
The Verona property, operated by the Oneida Indian Nation, expects to improve The Showroom, add a new upscale bar in The Lodge, reopen a new-look buffet, and enhance various other facilities.
All of this comes as Turning Stone nears its 28th anniversary and comes out of a pandemic that not only forced a brief closure of the casino but also took a toll on revenue. As Ray Halbritter, CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises, put it: “These renovations are also a sign of a ‘return to normal’ for so many.”
“We spent the last year preparing for the return of concerts, weddings, events, and tourism in general by transforming parts of the resort that will greatly enhance our guest experience and maintain our status as New York’s premier destination casino resort.”
June 10, 2021
Jessica Welman Breaks Down NY Sports Betting Landscape
While it may seem like nothing has been happening on the New York sports betting front, plenty has been going on behind the scenes.
Our own Jessica Welman breaks down the process faced by the New York State Gaming Commission, including the July 1 deadline to issue a request for proposals followed by 30 days for interested parties to submit bids and another 150 days for the commission to select the state’s platform providers.
In addition, there’s some insight into who you might expect to see bids from.
June 4, 2021
BetMGM Adds Legendary Brand Ambassador: No. 99
A familiar face has aligned with sports betting and digital gaming operator BetMGM.
Wayne Gretzky, who spent the final three seasons of his illustrious career with the New York Rangers, signed a multi-year agreement to become a brand ambassador for BetMGM.
The Great One will help bolster the hockey and North American marketing efforts of BetMGM.
Gretzky helped lead the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1997, and it was with the franchise that he set the career record for regular-season and playoff goals.
June 1, 2021
NY Racing Association, BetMGM Join Forces In Historic Partnership
The New York Racing Association has become the latest first horse racing partner of an online gaming company. The deal with BetMGM allows the operator to leverage the NYRA Bets wagering platform for its own BetMGM horse racing app, which will be available for iOS and Android users.
As a result, BetMGM customers will gain access to horse races run at more than 200 tracks worldwide. Similar deals have been struck in the past, with TVG partnering with FanDuel and Churchill Downs rebranding its BetAmerica platform as TwinSpires.
NYRA Bets, which has seen substantially increased traffic since launching in 2016, will now have one of the top iGaming operators in its corner. This deal comes a few weeks after the NYRA announced an “official mobile lottery partner” in Jackpocket.
The third-party lottery app, which allows users to purchase select lottery games via mobile devices, became the title sponsor of the $400,000 GI Jackpocket Jaipur at the Belmont Stakes. In addition, Jackpocket gained preferred partner status with Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.
May 21, 2021
Pro Basketball Leagues, Sports Betting Companies Do Business
The NBA and WNBA are digging in their heels more into the sports betting waters, as each New York-based league announced new agreements this week.
Following the debut of its NBA BetStream, which featured alternate broadcast feeds focusing more on sports betting, the NBA came forward with a plan to launch a weekly 30-minute NBABet TV show presented by BetMGM. The show would center solely around the legal NBA betting market and will run through the first two rounds of the 2021 playoffs.
A day later, the WNBA announced it made PointsBet an “Authorized Gaming Operator” of the league. PointsBet adds the WNBA to its portfolio of partnerships that includes the NBA. The WNBA also becomes PointsBet’s first women’s professional sports league partner.
As part of the deal, PointsBet will integrate the WNBA into its betting platforms and will receiver sponsorship and brand visibility with the league.
May 18, 2021
NY Sports Betting Revenue Figures For April Released
For the first time, New York has sports betting revenue numbers for the month of April.
The state’s four commercial casinos generated $1.3 million in gross gaming revenue last month, the first April the Empire State’s regulated wagering industry has seen since launching. (The first retail bets were placed in July 2019, and casinos were closed in April 2020 because of the pandemic.) That total actually represents a 28.3% decrease from March 2021.
Leading the way was BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino, which reported $644,865. DraftKings Sportsbook at del Lago checked in at $620,431. The other two retail sportsbooks had their worst months in over a year. Tioga Downs reported just over $65,000 for its worst monthly GGR since March 2020; Resorts World Catskills actually lost $7,747 for its lowest point since February 2020.
May 13, 2021
Update On NY Mobile Betting: There Is No Update … For Now
Since the NYSGC released a sheet of FAQs providing more detail on the construct of mobile betting in New York, things have been quiet in the Empire State. Surely things will pick up soon. After all, we are less than two months away from the commission’s deadline to open up the application process for sports betting platform providers.
April 24, 2021
NYSGC Only Raises More Questions Following FAQ Release
The state of New York attempted to provide some clarity to the new online betting laws. The NYSGC issued a set of FAQs related to the new measure. Unfortunately, it raises several more questions than it settles.
Most notably, the rules still seem to leave the door open for a tribal casino challenge since there are still questions about tribal exclusivity and a potential violation of the state’s gaming compact.
April 19, 2021
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Signs Bill Legalizing Online Betting Apps in NY
The law legalizing online betting apps in New York is now official. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law as part of the larger budget bill. While this does legalize regulated betting apps in the state, it is important to be clear that this does not change the status of underground bookmakers or offshore betting sites.
Your local bookie is still very much breaking the law. Additionally, offshore sites that may claim it is okay for Americans to bet on them like Bovada and MyBookie are still breaking the law by accepting US customers.
We likely won’t see regulated mobile betting apps launch in New York until early 2022.
April 13, 2021
Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. Hopes For NY Online Sports Betting Launch By Super Bowl LVI
Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. told Elite Sports NY that the “benchmark date” for online sports betting in New York to launch is Super Bowl LVI, scheduled for Feb. 13, 2022.
The New York State Gaming Commission expects to issue a request for proposals by July 1. Applicants will have 30 days to respond, and then the commission will have up to 150 days to select two platform providers. Theoretically, that pits the actual selection around the end of 2021.
The quicker the commission can get the RFP out there, the quicker applications can come in, and the quicker partners can be selected. No doubt New York would like online sports betting to be up and running during, if not in time for, the football season.
But as Addabbo said, New York needs to get mobile betting off the ground by February: “You don’t want to miss out on another Super Bowl.”
April 7, 2021
Tioga Downs Casino Owner Blasts NY’s Mobile Sports Betting Plan
The Cuomo budget features a lot of numbers and projections related to sports betting. One big number is a projected $500 million in revenue for the state. Eric Ramsey explains why this model will bring in more money for the state than an open market, but half a billion dollars is just not attainable.
Jeff Gural, owner of Tioga Downs, didn’t mince words when critiquing the plan to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).
If you have been following Dave Portnoy or the metoeric rise of $PENN stock, this New York news probably has you thinking positively. While there is room for Barstool Sportsbook and Penn National Gaming to get into the state, there are also plenty of scenarios they don’t. Our own Dustin Gouker broke down the pros and cons of Barstool New York.
In his address to the state, Cuomo touted his mobile sports betting plan, noting:
“The law allows the state to directly operate mobile sports betting. So the $500 million will go to the state rather than a lot of middlemen who operate mobile sports betting, which is what many other states have done.”
Cuomo also reaffirmed his opposition of downstate casino expansion. His rationale is he wants the NY Gaming Commission to handle licensing to avoid the process getting too political.
Here is his video briefing:
Once the budget was finalized, the Oneida Nation once again released a statement about its frustration with the plan:
April 6, 2021
Terms Of NY Online Sports Betting Budget Legislation Released
The language for the legalization of online sports betting dropped this evening as part of budget legislation.
New key points:
- Fees to be one of two platform providers cost $25 million for a 10-year period.
- Casinos will be paid $5 million annually if they host servers for a sports betting licensee.
- The state will issue a request for proposals by July 1, and applicants will have 30 days to respond. The state will have 150 days to choose the sports betting platforms.
The NY legislature and Cuomo still don’t have a finalized budget. However, Pretlow and others told the media there is a plan that will be in the final bill for sports betting. The details remained hazy, perhaps even more confusing than ever.
- There will be two sportsbook platforms and those platforms must have a minimum of four skins.
- The state expects to keep at least 50% of revenues and will push for 55%.
- Royalty fee to the leagues removed.
- Money dedicated to education with $5 million to youth sports and $6 million to responsible gambling measures.
April 5, 2021
Cuomo: NY Sports Betting Plan Won’t Include Casinos
Cuomo announced there is a plan in place for sports betting with New York Lottery as the regulator-operator. He explicitly stated his intention to leave out casinos:
We will contract directly with the mobile sports vendor, FanDuel, DraftKings … we’ll contract with them and we’ll make the money. We don’t need the casinos as a middleman. That’s the first point of contention: should you let the casinos make the money or should the state make the money directly? My position is the state should make the money directly and then let the state decide what to do with it.”
That point could very soon be the focus of a court case. The state constitution states the casinos have to be involved with gambling expansion. For example, with online sports betting, the servers for a betting app would need to be on casino property.
Cuomo also suggested tribal casino participation could be limited to just bets made on tribal grounds. That immediately drew a response from the Oneida Nation:
Response this evening from Oneida Indian Nation after Cuomo's comments re: mobile sports betting. pic.twitter.com/biITXm1JqH
— Tom Precious (@TomPreciousALB) April 5, 2021
March 31, 2021
Negotiations came down to the wire to make the April 1 budget. For the first time in a few years, the budget was not settled on time. Part of the delay stemmed from hashing out details on sports betting, which kept veering farther away from casinos and closer to Cuomo’s lottery-based plan.
Early details included a lottery-run model with one or two operators. Cuomo kept pointing to New Hampshire’s single-operator model as an effective comparison. It is worth noting the population of New Hampshire is 1.36 million people. The state sportsbook collected around $5 million in revenue in its first year of operation.
March 29, 2021
After more than a month of public silence and behind-the-scenes negotiations, whispers came out of Albany about a compromise. According to Addabbo, they presented Cuomo with a hybrid option, but he insisted on a model that cut casinos out of the equation, even if there were constitutional questions about if that is even possible.
March 16, 2021
Play News: Experts Discuss NY Sports Betting Industry
PlayNY publishes a white paper on the economic possibilities of online sports betting in New York. In tandem with the release, we also hosted a webinar talking about the NY sports betting industry.
Jan. 22, 2021
NYGS Releases Study On Gambling Expansion
The New York Gaming Commission (NYGS) released a study on gambling expansion the department requested from consulting firm Spectrum Gaming. Many in gaming thought Cuomo’s plan perhaps stemmed from results in this study. Turns out not. The study advised a casino model and also projected the revenue for possible upstate casinos.
Jan. 20, 2021
Cuomo Posts Executive Budget
Cuomo released his executive budget. It included no sports betting details.
Jan. 19, 2021
Cuomo delivered his public budget address. He again references his sports betting plan, but still will not release details. The hope is details will come with the official executive budget.
Jan. 8, 2021
A day after Cuomo went on the offensive, sports betting sponsor Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. quickly reacted to the announcement. He told PlayNY that, without online sports betting, the struggling downstate commercial casinos could risk financial ruin. The four downstate casinos struggled almost immediately after launching. They had even asked the state for a bailout in 2018.
Jan. 6, 2021
The new year got off on a positive note when Gov. Cuomo said he supported online sports betting expansion. Lawmakers have been pushing the law for years, but previously lacked Cuomo’s support. However, as part of his revelation that it would be in his budget, he announced an entirely new plan for state sports betting. Instead of a plan similar to most other states where casinos serve as the licensees and the state gaming commission oversees regulation, Cuomo proposed one run by the lottery with a monopoly model.