Goal Line In Sight: Will NY Launch Mobile Sports Betting In Time For Super Bowl?

Written By Martin Harris on July 13, 2021
Lawmakers legalized NY mobile sports betting during the spring. Now, the question is whether betting will go live by the Super Bowl.

During Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones had a memorable 80-yard run during a Thursday Night Football game versus the Philadelphia Eagles. According to NFL NextGen stats, Jones hit a top speed of 21.23 mph during the run, faster than any QB had been clocked over the previous three years.

The Giants finished the year 6-10, but Jones’ continued maturation has some fans looking forward eagerly to the coming season. Among those fans are sports bettors, many of whom are also hoping to place online wagers on Jones and the Giants at some point during the 2021 NFL season.

New York lawmakers passed a bill legalizing mobile sports betting in NY during the spring. At the time, many observers eyed the 2021 football season as a prime launch target. Much work remained, but the thought was perhaps online sportsbooks could go live by the end of the year. Or, if not then, at least by Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a longtime sports betting proponent, said as much at the time when speaking to Elite Sports New York.

“You don’t want to miss out on another Super Bowl,” said Addabbo. He added that going live by Super Bowl LVI “would be a good benchmark for New York to see how we’re doing” as far as mobile sports betting was concerned.

Achieving that goal could still happen. However, unlike Danny Dimes’ zig-zag scamper last October, the process is not moving as swiftly as many had hoped.

NYSGC delays issuing RFA, pushes mobile sports betting timeline forward

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new budget into law on April 19. When he did, that act officially legalized mobile sports betting in the state. The new law charged the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) with regulating mobile sports betting.

Eventually, at least two platform providers and four mobile sports wagering operators will begin offering online sports betting across the state. That means bettors won’t have to visit a retail sportsbook at a casino to place their wagers, but will be able to do so online from anywhere in NY.

Among the first steps required of the NYSGC were to draft mobile sports betting rules and to issue a request for applications (RFA). Regulators went to work on the rules, fielding questions from prospective applicants along the way. However, the state-mandated deadline of July 1 to issue the RFA came and went despite the NYSGC having had two-and-a-half months to prepare for it.

It was only last Friday, July 9, the NYSGC finally did send out the RFA along with an amended list of mobile sports betting rules.

That delay could prove significant in a couple of ways. For one, the delay perhaps bodes less than well for the NYSGC meeting other deadlines still to come. More concretely, it also pushes forward the entire timeline for accepting applications, selecting winning bids, and issuing licenses.

In other words, the race is now fully on.

Applications due in August, selections could take until January

Given what remains, it appears certain mobile sports betting will not be in place by the start of the NFL season which begins Sept. 9. Indeed, it might be optimistic to think mobile sportsbooks could launch by early 2022.

Looking ahead, here is the timeline regulators and potential mobile sports betting providers will be following:

  • July 9, 2021 – NYSGC issues RFA, giving applicants a minimum of 30 days to submit proposals
  • Aug. 9, 2021 – NYSGC’s announced deadline for applications (by 4 p.m.)
  • Jan. 6, 2022150 days after application deadline, the period NYSGC has to rank proposals and select winning bids

Once the Commission selects the platform providers, each will then pay $25 million for a 10-year license. However in order to retain their license for the full 10 years, providers will have to share 50% of their revenue. Those that do so will then be able to apply for renewal after 10 years. Those that don’t will have to apply for renewal sooner.

It should be added as well that the NYSGC could potentially select more than two providers. Doing so would require an assurance that the additional providers would produce more tax revenue for the state. Determining that would require further market analysis, which could add more time to the process.

Of course, the NYSGC does not have to take the full 150 days to decide who will get the licenses. Should it manage to make its choices sooner and issue licenses before the end of the year, online sportsbooks could go live at some point in January or early February.

However systems will require implementation and testing, potentially adding more time before the first wagers could be accepted.

NYSGC can see SB LVI goal, but will they reach it?

All in all, the chance NY mobile sports betting goes live before Super Bowl LVI is likely better than the Giants’ chance of winning it. Currently futures bets on the New York Giants to win it all are +8000. That said, getting it done in time may still be somewhat of a long shot.

If you remember that Daniel Jones run on TNF versus the Eagles last year, you might recall how it ended. Having outrun all his pursuers, Jones slipped and fell on his own just inside the 10-yard-line. Thus did he miss out on ending his epic rush with a touchdown celebration. Thankfully for the Giants, they did still manage to punch it in for a TD four plays later.

New York sports bettors are hoping regulators don’t similarly fall short and delay the start of mobile sports betting until after the big game. In any case, all eyes will be on the NYSGC as it races toward that Super Bowl LVI goal line.

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