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New York Finally Woke on Mobile Sports Betting

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New York Finally Woke on Mobile Sports Betting
Times Square on May 27, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

It took a lot of time, a lot of debate and even the economic effects of a global pandemic, but the state of New York finally rose from the dark ages and updated their legal sports betting platform to include mobile wagering opportunities.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it official on Monday when he signed the state’s fiscal 2022 budget legislation which included a long-awaited framework for New York’s online sports betting platform. While it may still be a year away from official launch, mobile sports betting in New York is a welcome development for a state that had been clinging to an antiquated retail-only sports betting model, originating at four upstate, out-of-the-way casinos.

What New York Gains

New York has always been considered one of, if not the most exciting untapped legal sports betting markets in the US wagering scene. But it was insanely underutilized thanks to its retail-only platform and the fact that its retail facilities were located far away from urban centers.

“New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States, and by legalizing online sports betting we aim to keep millions of dollars in tax revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the Covid-19 crisis,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a recent statement.

As Cuomo said, by adding a mobile wing to their retail betting presence, New York will be able to keep wagering dollars in their own state instead of shipping that cash to New Jersey, which has reported about 25% of their record-setting handles coming from New York bettors.

“Mobile sports betting we think could raise $500 million dollars. Many states have done it.” Cuomo added.

The Plan

The bidding process for licensing will start soon and it will be a process according to those in charge, lasting the better part of the rest of this year. The New York Gaming Commission will oversee selecting a minimum of two platform providers for the state’s betting program. Each provider will gain a minimum of four skins.

Applications will have to be submitted by July 1 and must include providers’ gross revenue estimates, the tax rate they will be willing to pay, their experience in the industry, how long it will take the provider to be up-and-running in the state and what they see as a fair revenue sharing agreement with the state’s Native American tribes or nations.

The minimum tax rate has already been set at 13%, although through the application process, this number is expected to creep higher.

The two winning providers that navigate the process will pay a one-time fee of $25 million to host sports betting and will be named 150 days after the state receives all of the applications. Mobile providers will

be expected to affiliate with a New York brick-and-mortar casino and pay that casino $5 million per year to host their mobile platform.

When Will New Yorkers Be Able to Place Their First Mobile Bets?

There is still a lot of work to be done before New York bettors are able to officially place a mobile wager. There are conflicting reports about just when the platform will launch but early 2022 looks like the target time, specifically Super Bowl LVI, set for February 13 of next year.

“You don’t want to miss out on another Super Bowl. I think this would be a good benchmark for New York to see how we’re doing,” Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., the main sponsor of legal sports betting legislation in the state. Addabbo has also stated that there is a chance for an earlier launch that will allow New York bettors to get in on the mobile action as soon as the end of the NFL regular season or its early playoff rounds.

Expectations

A wide variety of top-tier betting providers are expected to vie for the privilege of operating in the potentially massive New York mobile betting scene. With just two providers being granted four skins each, the competition is expected to be fierce.

So, while not exactly putting their foot on the gas of a legal mobile sports betting platform in their state, New York lawmakers have at least gotten the ball rolling on an internet-based platform. Step 1 of getting the Governor’s acceptance of legal sports betting is in the books. Now, unfortunately, the real work begins.