For a while, the “before Dec. 6” deadline meant that the New York State Gaming Commission could be making some big news around this time by awarding online sports betting licenses.
But, as it turned out, the NYSGC was seemingly ahead of schedule when it selected FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Ballys, Caesars, WynnBet, Rush Street, PointsBet and Resorts World in early November — almost a full month earlier than expected.
So where do things stand with legal online sports betting in New York?
What is standing in the way of NY betting apps launch?
Short answer: Several things.
Incoming NY betting apps continue to go through server/casino negotiations and installation, which also require approval from state regulators. On top of that, online sportsbooks also need the sign-off for their own tech as well as implement approved payment processing systems.
New York needs to make sure this goes smoothly as state policymakers want online sports bettors to wager in the Empire State as opposed to taking their business to neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania or their local bookies. Of course, they also want New York bettors to stay in New York.
When will we finally be able to make our online sports bets in NY?
If you’re looking for an exact date, unfortunately, that still remains TBD.
Some point in January remains the most likely outcome for first bets, as late December seems far-fetched. None of the industry sources PlayNY spoke with at SBC Summit North America last week expressed any concern that things won’t be fully up and running before the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.
Again, being able to drum up the three-day NFL wild-card weekend Jan. 15-17 to create some buzz makes a ton of sense if the parties can get to the finish line by then.
Will all NY betting apps start on the same day?
Sen. Joe Addabbo would like for that to happen so all of the competitors begin on equal footing. And Addabbo told PlayNY he plans to talk to the NYSGC about the possibility as the servers get closer to being finalized.
But for now, individual sportsbooks can conceivably start as soon as they get approval from the NYSGC. The buzz in the sports betting industry is that at least one operator is trying to get out in front of the competition.
Rush Street, for example, already has a physical casino in New York, Rivers in Schenectady, meaning it could have an easier time getting its servers up than a rival. All operators have to put their servers on location at one of the state’s four upstate commercial casino properties.
You can’t possibly still be talking about the 51% tax rate, right?
Maybe everyone has had enough of the 51% tax rate talk, but that’s obviously not going anywhere.
In fact, more than one industry person at the SBC Summit suggested to PlayNY that policymakers go in and amend the fact that promotional spend cannot be deducted from revenue or added to loss when calculating gross gambling revenue. Long-term financial viability for operators remains a topic of concern.
PlayNY has broken down the potential ripple effects in-depth, which could mean lesser promotions and worse lines for NY online sports betting users.
“We will have to see what New York does long term,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said recently. “There could be changes in the tax rate. But if not, we will adjust accordingly. Maybe the best players still go to Connecticut and New Jersey because they get a better deal there.”