Winning Bidders Announced For Online Sports Betting Licenses; First Apps To Launch By Super Bowl

Written By Mike Mazzeo on November 8, 2021 - Last Updated on November 9, 2021

Editors Note: This is a breaking story that will be updated 

At long last, it feels like legalized online sports betting is really coming to New York. And it just might be here in time for the Super Bowl.

On Monday afternoon, the New York State Gaming Commission selected nine operators to receive licenses to offer NY online sports betting. The fine nine will pay a 51% tax on their revenue, by far the highest commercial rate in the country.

The chosen operators were part of the widely favored consortiums that included most of the biggest brands in the country. The term is for 10 years.

Super Bid 1

  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • BetMGM
  • Bally Bet

Super Bid 2

  • Caesars
  • PointsBet
  • BetRivers
  • Resorts World
  • WynnBet

The NYSGC had until Dec. 6 to select applicants for coveted licenses. Based on that deadline, they are seemingly well ahead of schedule.

Which sportsbook apps are coming to NY?

Here’s a quick rundown of the sportsbook operators coming to NY:

FanDuel Sportsbook NY

One of two giants in the industry, FanDuel Sportsbook was named operator of the year at the 2021 EGR North America Virtual Awards. FanDuel’s app is regularly touted among the smoothest and most user-friendly. And the company is an industry pioneer in terms of featuring same-game parlays. FanDuel has a sportsbook at Tioga Downs in Nichols.

FanDuel is also available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

DraftKings Sportsbook NY

Regularly vying with FanDuel for top status, DraftKings Sportsbook is also a premier destination for sports bettors, its app also receiving high marks for its slick platform and live betting feature. DraftKings has a sportsbook at del Lago in Waterloo.

DraftKings offers online sports betting in an industry-leading 14 US markets: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

BetMGM NY

With an expansive M life database and understanding of its consumers, BetMGM has emerged as a significant player in the industry. Or, as it refers to itself, “The King of Sportsbooks.” Customers also benefit from its M rewards loyalty program, and there is a very deep bench of sports available for betting. MGM Resorts owns Empire City Casino in Yonkers too.

BetMGM is also available in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

“We’re pleased to share that BetMGM has been granted a license to operate mobile sports betting in New York, a state vital to ensuring nationwide leadership in sports betting and iGaming over time. We would like to thank the New York Gaming Commission as well as congratulate them for keeping to their timetable. New York has the potential to be one of the largest sports betting markets in the U.S. and BetMGM is particularly well positioned to become a leader in the state given the strength of the M life customer database, close proximity of Empire City Casino to support our omni-channel strategy, and parlaying our already leading positions in nearby states.” — BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt 

Bally Bet NY

Bally Bet is a relative newcomer in the space. But it an interesting player given its partnership with Sinclair and its ability to promote itself on its own regional sports network. Only one other operator (Fox Bet) owns its broadcast media footprint to that extent.

Bally Bet is so far available in Colorado and Iowa.

Bally’s is pleased to have been awarded an online sports betting license from the State of New York — the most populous state to enable OSB — and would like to thank the New York State Gaming Commission for including Bally’s in this exciting endeavor. This license advances our overall market footprint and marks the latest milestone on our journey towards becoming the leading omni-channel gaming provider in the U.S. Above all, we look forward to providing New York’s devoted fan base with engaging, best-in-class, sports betting experiences.” — Bally’s Corporation Chairman Soo Kim 

Caesars NY

The presence of Caesars Sportsbook has grown tremendously in the wake of its acquisition of the William Hill US assets. Now available in 12 states with more on the way, there’s a ton of experience behind the scenes. The result is a very solid mobile experience for sports bettors and competitive odds and lines. Caesars has an existing presence in NY as the sportsbook operator for the Oneida Indians.

Caesars is also available in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

PointsBet NY

PointsBet differentiates itself from its competitors with its proprietary “points betting” system. Essentially, as the company puts it, “The more you’re right, the more you win. The more you’re wrong, the more you lose.” PointsBet will look to leverage its partnership with NBC Sports and its market-leading golf product to increase its customer base in NY.

PointsBet is also available in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey and West Virginia.

“Today’s news of being recommended by the New York State Gaming Commission marks an exciting moment for us at PointsBet. Having the potential to secure market access to New York state – expected to be one of the largest and most important markets in the United States –represents another major milestone for our company, our brand, and our technology. We are thankful to the Gaming Commission for this recommendation and believe it speaks volumes to PointsBet’s reputation and ability to deliver an unrivaled, world-class experience. We eagerly await the official opportunity to leverage our exclusive sports betting partnership with NBC Sports and introduce the nation’s premier sports betting product to the countless passionate, sports-loving New Yorkers.” — PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken

BetRivers NY

BetRivers has come to be known for having a solid offering and good loyalty program. The brand is owned by Rush Street, which also offers retail sports betting at Rivers Schenectady. The company uses Kambi to power its sportsbook.

BetRivers is also available in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey and West Virginia.

WynnBet NY

The online arm of the Wynn Resorts casino empire, WynnBet is a serviceable and user-friendly app that includes a “Bet and Spin” bonus for parlays. It is known for quick payouts, and it has a partnership with former Jets’ center Nick Mangold as a brand ambassador.

WynnBet is also available in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia.

“We’re excited that the New York State Gaming Commission has approved our request for application for online sports betting. New Yorkers represent a significant portion of the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Boston Harbor databases, and we look forward to giving those customers more ways to earn and use Wynn Rewards. We also look forward to meeting and engaging with new customers in the state via WynnBET.” — Wynn Interactive CEO Craig Billings

Resorts World NY

Resorts World has a popular rewards program for customers. It also has an upstate casino property in the Catskills and a downstate video lottery terminal (that could eventually become a full casino) in Queens. In July, Resorts World Catskills set the single month revenue high for 2021 among all of NY’s upstate commercial casinos when it pulled in more than $22 million.

The Resorts World sportsbook app is also live in Nevada under the license of the newest casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Where do the tribes fit in?

The FanDuel consortium partnered with the Seneca Indians. The Kambi consortium partnered with the Oneida Indians and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

Prior to this bidding process, all three tribes had pre-existing partnerships in the state.

  • Oneida + Caesars
  • Seneca + Kambi
  • St. Regis Mohawk + The Stars Group

As it turns out, that initial wave of partnerships everyone scrambled for around 2018-19 is pretty much a nonfactor in this forthcoming expansion.

On the outside looking in

The losing bids were submitted by Fanatics and Barstool Sportsbook, Fox BettheScore Bet and bet365. The latter had a pre-existing agreement with Resorts World that will remain limited to brick-and-mortar operations by virtue of its omission from online licensure.

Fanatics is perhaps the most compelling player left out, given its deep pockets and the presence of former FanDuel CEO Matt King at the helm. The company also planned to make Jay-Z vice chairman of Fanatics Sportsbook. Fanatics, though, still doesn’t have a sportsbook operator.

Perhaps it can make its way into New York through a merger or acquisition down the line, but for now Jay-Z has been kept out of his home state.

One milestone left for NY online sports betting

While final steps still have to take place, licensure represents a major hurdle cleared in what has been an arduous process. It’s particularly significant for advocates Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemb. Gary Pretlow, who have championed online sports betting in the state for some time.

Their frustrations with former Gov. Cuomo and his administration became evident as New York continued to fall far behind New Jersey, which just became the first state to record $1 billion in sports betting handle in a single month.

Lawmakers wanted an open market with competitive licensing and a low tax rate like New Jersey, but Cuomo wanted a closed process with a tax rate upwards of 50% (similar to New Hampshire). Prior to resigning in August, and with the state facing a massive deficit due to COVID, Cuomo managed to push his plan across the finish line.

The goal now for lawmakers will be keeping local bettors in-state as opposed to going to neighboring states like Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — or to their illegal bookie.

The state should make out well, with tax revenue projections falling in the $500 million to $1 billion range. The next question is whether or not operators can make any money given the high cost of doing business in New York. Some have already suggested that promotions might suffer as a result.

These last few questions will have answers soon enough. The hope is that the first bet will be placed sometime during the NFL playoffs in January, with online sports betting fully up and running by Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13.

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo has covered New York sports since 2010, previously working as a beat writer and columnist for ESPN (Nets), Yahoo Sports (NBA/MLB) and the New York Daily News (Yankees). His work has also been published in the New York Times, New York Post, Forbes and The Ringer.

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