Despite the wildly successful launch of New York online sports betting, neighboring states aren’t feeling the pain.
A Connecticut casino executive provided one explanation — a broader online offering. Namely, people in Connecticut can play casino games online in addition to sports betting.
Speaking from the National Indian Gaming Association conference in Anaheim, Calif., Anika Howard, vice president of brand marketing and digital at Foxwoods Resort Casino, said:
“It’s still early days but we haven’t seen too much [of an impact]. New York is a big, big feeder market for Foxwoods and for the tribe in terms of people coming in to play. And I think once again the fact that we have the combination of retail and online [sports betting] and online gaming makes a big difference because we are still seeing a nice set of people that are betting on [the border] leading up to New York.”
New York surrounded by online casino states
Everyone assumed that bordering states profited from New York customers in recent years.
As the Empire State behemoth prepared to launch NY online sports betting, gambling industries in bordering states had to be concerned they were about to lose customers.
Although New York quickly jumped atop US states in sports betting handle, surrounding states haven’t suffered.
But the three states with sports betting around New York — Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — all have online casino as well.
Early results have helped quell bordering state fears:
- March sports betting handle in New Jersey and Pennsylvania increased substantially over March 2021.
- Pennsylvania set a US record for online casino with $142.7 million in gross gaming revenue in March.
- New Jersey nearly matched that total with $140 million.
- Although Connecticut only began its online offerings in October, it had its best month of handle in January, the month New York launched.
“I do think the fact that we have a broader offering helps us in that way,” Howard said. “We’re going to be watching it closely because New York is definitely looking to pass online gaming, and the story may change.”
Lawmakers to more seriously consider iGaming in ’23
New York Sen. Joe Addabbo introduced legislation with online casino and online poker this year. But his intention was more to start the discussion for the future.
“There’s so much more New York can do to stop other states from siphoning off money,” Addabbo said. “That’s why I’ve been pushing for iGaming as the next step. It just a natural progression.”
Over the second half of the year, Addabbo plans to delve into feedback from the industry on the online casino legislation. Then he hopes to get Gov. Kathy Hochul to include iGaming in her executive budget in January. This year, Hockel signed a budget bill that included expediting three downstate casino licenses.
“I truly appreciate her administration being so open to talking about these gaming issues when the last governor wasn’t,” Addabbo said. “Now that we have Gov. Hochul, it’s so refreshing that I can actually have these conversations about New York expanding gaming in a methodical way.”
If New York does legalize online casino, Howard still thinks Foxwoods can attract New Yorkers across the border with promotions for its resort casino. Foxwoods is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which partners with DraftKings.
“I think the other interesting dynamic is that when someone registers for DraftKings, they can register for DraftKings in New York but if they come to Connecticut and play, that revenue comes to us,” Howard said. “So we still have things we’ll be able to do in terms of how we cross-promote and recapture some of that revenue in the event that later — much, much later hopefully — we see a different trend.”