For the first time ever, there was no need for New Yorkers to cross the border to make legal online sports bets.
Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, locals could make their wagers from the comfort of their own homes.
There was a palpable buzz on social media as New York bettors tried to take advantage of the many NY online sports betting promotions available from DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars and BetRivers.
Here’s a look at how the start of Day 1 went:
Caesars Sportsbook NY steals the show
It’s good to be King.
Caesars doesn’t have a massive market share like DraftKings and FanDuel. But clearly the company was looking to make a statement in New York after being part of a Super Bid that was willing to give 64% of its revenue to the state.
Like many, I took advantage of Caesars’ $300 bonus on sign up, and it also matched up to $3,000 on first deposits. As notable NY bettor @BigfellaATM posted on Twitter: “@CaesarsSports not playing games!!! Giving Free $300 bet and matching up to 3k on first deposits!!! #Legit #RealDeal Thank you!!”
On top of that, Caesars New York also landed King Henrik, bringing former Ranger great Henrik Lundqvist on as an NY brand ambassador.
“New York has always been a special place to me and it’s such an exciting time for this state,” Lundqvist said in a statement. “Becoming a part of the Caesars Sportsbook team going forward is an exciting opportunity as I enter into my next chapter.”
Frustration with FanDuel New York
Securing the $100 bonus from FanDuel, however, proved to be an exercise in frustration. It took about 90 minutes, as multiple log-in attempts proved futile.
That said, FanDuel Sportsbook NY company did provide updates on Twitter about the issue, and appeared to have rectified it just past 2 p.m.
Similarly, the DraftKings Sportsbook bonus also appeared to cause issues among users, who expressed their frustrations on social media. I ended up placing a pair of $10 bets via DraftKings New York on the Giants-WFT under 37.5 and the Jets +16 at Buffalo.
Ultimately, these two companies are the titans in the industry, and both will presumably be at the head of the pack. But it was a rocky start.
“That’s why you do it today and not Super Bowl Sunday,” Sen. Joe Addabbo said when informed of the difficulties. “That was the whole idea.”
Addabbo receives plaudits for NY online sports betting launch
This morning, Addabbo received congratulations from New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on the launch of online sports betting in a virtual Senate Conference. “That was pretty cool,” Addabbo said.
Around 9 a.m., Addabbo was scrolling through Twitter and texting his friends and constituents who made wagers.
“They’re happy that they can do it here. Not finding that many issues so far. Twitter users did say there are not enough sports to bet on,” Addabbo said. “But for the most part it’s been good, and it’s only the first day so it’s a little too early to make any declarations.”
Expectations for New York’s online sports betting future are sky-high. But questions still exist about its 51% tax rate and closed competition.
FanDuel CMO Mike Raffensperger appeared on partner station WFAN on Friday and told Boomer and Gio that online sports betting odds in New York will be the same as they are in neighboring New Jersey despite the massive tax rate differential between the two jurisdictions (NJ is 13%). Whether that continues remains to be seen.
There is pressure on the Empire State to keep local sports bettors from going elsewhere.
“I’m on edge,” said Addabbo, summing things up. “It’s settling in how monumental this is for NY, and the potential. As I told my colleagues, even if you don’t like sports, even if you don’t like mobile sports betting, somehow, someway, you may benefit anyway, whether that be from the revenues or educational funds or jobs or youth sports money.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t place a bet, like I probably won’t, but you’ll probably benefit from it somehow.”
Asked if he planned on placing a sports wager Saturday, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow responded: “No, just glad it’s off the ground before the Super Bowl.”