Should State Legalize NY Online Casinos, Rush Street Would Have ‘Huge Advantage’

Written By Grant Lucas on March 6, 2023 - Last Updated on February 6, 2024
new york online casinos rush street interactive betrivers

Despite beliefs that New York may not legalize online casinos until 2024, Rush Street Interactive remains excited about the potential for iGaming in the Empire State.

Speaking during the company’s latest earnings call, Richard Schwartz, CEO of Rush Street, which owns BetRivers Sportsbook and powers the land-based operation at Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady, noted that “the industry is aligned and in a way that I haven’t seen before and you’re starting to see a lot of investments being made and lobbying efforts to legalize online casino in a way that you haven’t seen over the last decade.”

“That’s extremely exciting. I think it’s clear why casino is a larger, more profitable category, the industry and legislators are realizing the value of the combination, how effective it is.”

Enthusiasm abounds, Schwartz said, as does opportunity for NY online casinos. But will it happen overnight? “Probably not,” he said, “but the first step is to get a sponsor of the bill excited, interested introducing a bill and we’re starting to see that. And you’re starting to see a lot of effort being made and lobbying dollars being applied towards this goal.”

Momentum of NY online casinos ‘outstanding’ for Rush Street

Passing legislation to legalize online casinos in New York takes time. Especially in a state that, historically, has stood averse to the expansion of regulated gambling.

In New York, however, another bill emerged in the Senate to green-light NY online casinos. And after a historic first year of online sports betting in New York, it wouldn’t be irrational to believe that the state would strongly consider authorizing iGaming in the state to create another, even stronger, revenue stream.

Seeing these efforts creates excitement for Schwartz and Rush Street.

“I think you’re starting to really get momentum being built,” Schwartz said, “which of course is outstanding for us because of all the companies in the industry, we think we may be one of the ones haven’t disproportionately large share of casino revenues and we do particularly well in the casino markets. So for us, this type of momentum is very welcomed.”

Remaining active in New York also a plus

Rush Street saw BetRivers Sportsbook NY go live in mid-January. While not a market leader, or even contender, its presence alone creates an advantage for ownership should the state legalize online casinos.

After all, should it pass, the bill carves out a New York online casino license for each of the existing online sportsbooks — including BetRivers.

“I think that there is a huge advantage to already being opened in the market,” Schwartz said. “We’ve got a database of players, we’ve got a brand that people are aware of. So those are big advantages.”

Schwartz added later that Rush Street logs stronger performances in the online casino market than sports betting.

“I think one thing to remember is, in most markets that have both casino and sports, we typically carry three to five times the share in casino than we do in sports. So, if we’ve got — in Illinois, if you’ve got double-digit share and in Indiana or New York we’ve got low single-to-mid single digit share in sports, if we could get three times that in any of those states, that’s pretty darn meaningful for us. So we’re obviously very excited about the legislation and the movement by the industry to be talking about iCasino a lot more.”

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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