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Going the Wrong Way: New York Sees Sports Betting Revenues Slip

It's peak season for sports betting in the US with three of the four Major Sports going and a host of global sporting events underway. Conventional thinking is that Casinos offering sports betting should be benefitting – right?

That's not what is happening in the states of New York and Rhode Island. The numbers are out for sports betting revenues in New York for November and they reflect a disappointing trend. New York experienced an eye-opening 41% drop in revenues to $1.3 million from total earnings in October of $2.2 million. That's the lowest monthly total since the market opened on July 16.

Accessibility please

The New York sports betting industry is plagued with a number of issues that could directly affect the disappointing sports betting numbers for November. Firstly, the proximity of brick-and-mortar casinos in the state is not ideal, to say the least. New York casinos, the only place to throw down a wager are far away from metropolitan centers and are a chore for most to reach. New York state, in turn, could be missing out on the 21 million people that call New York City home.

Another reason is the lack of mobile wagering opportunities. For comparison sake, a look at neighbor New Jersey shows just how much New York is missing the boat. According to the Action Network, New Jersey bettors wagered $2.32 billion in a nine-and-a-half-month period, with 80 percent of those wagers coming via mobile means.

The fact that bettors are having to travel far to place wagers and the fact that they can't bet on their favorite squad from the comfort of their own home is hindering the handle and tax revenue opportunities in New York. And with the weather outside turning frightful, chances are that fewer people will be venturing out to rural casinos to get in on the sports betting action.

What about the casinos that DO offer sports betting?

New York currently has four sportsbooks that allow sports betting. The problems already laid out have made these sportsbooks a relative non-factor in the revenues generated by the brick-and-mortar facilities they occupy.

Tioga Downs Casino’s FanDuel Sportsbook in Nichols' revenues dropped 60% in November, Rivers Casino’s Rush Street Gaming Sportsbook in Schenectady dropped 45% and Resorts Catskills’ Bet365 in Monticello and Del Lago Casino’s DraftKings in Waterloo saw an 8% decrease in revenues in November compared to October.

The good news

The slumping numbers are a sign that something has to change in New York in order for the state to remain relevant in the sports betting landscape – and people are taking notice. Hopes are that politicians and decision-makers in the state are among them.

The New York State Gaming Commission is at least looking into the idea of mobile betting for the state. It’s another sign that lawmakers in New York are willing to admit and possibly move beyond their projection shortfalls. That report's findings are due in May 2020 though, meaning that mobile betting won't be a reality in the state until mid or late 2020.

Simply put, New York has the potential to rival any in the US when it comes to sports betting handle but there are real obstacles preventing them from realizing their full potential. Until some changes are made and some new policies adopted, New York will continue to fall short of revenue expectations.