Mobile Sports Bettor Loyalties Could Drive New York RFA Selection

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As New York mobile sports betting edges closer to a request for application launch this Thursday, state regulators may want to take a good look at who New Yorkers are betting with just over the border. 

Companies like William Hill, BetMGM, FanDuel, PointsBet, and DraftKings are among 20 or so mobile sports betting apps that New Yorkers have used for two years in states like New Jersey, and are likely to use once mobile sportsbooks launch in New York. The challenge is getting loyalty apps licensed quickly in New York and, second, getting New Yorkers to use them back home.

It’s an issue that has crossed the mind of New York Sen. Joe Addabbo of Queens, a key negotiator in New York’s legalization of mobile sports betting as part of the state budget process last spring. 

Addabbo said New Yorkers’ loyalty to an app will hopefully be brought back to New York by matching incentives and getting New York bettors registered with that app in their home state.  

“New Yorkers have had a comfort zone for two years. We have to ask them to change what they’re doing and then try a New York state product, and stay with us,” Addabbo told Gaming Today this morning. 

How New York Can Incentivize Existing Loyalties

The New York State Gaming Commission is required under the 2022 New York state budget language to choose at least two platforms and four mobile skins for the state’s mobile sportsbook launch, with room for more. That’s one incentive, said Addabbo. 

Another incentive is getting mobile sportsbooks up and running soon so that the process runs smoothly for the big money maker — the 2022 Super Bowl. 

“It will be in the best interest of the state and the residents to do this in an expeditious manner because you want to get up and running before the Super Bowl,” the Senator said. “You want to work out all those initial kinks and hiccups and be up and running at optimum level by the Super Bowl.”

A third incentive is likely approval by the NYSGC of mobile apps used by platforms and operators in other states, like New Jersey. The commission hinted at the possibility in a sports wagering FAQ sheet on its website. 

The NYSGC says use of an existing application available in other states will be allowed “if the applications otherwise meet requirements of New York statute and regulations.” 

Will NYSGC Release The RFA On Time? 

A July 1 release of the mobile sports betting RFA is still expected. An earlier release at today’s NYSGC meeting didn’t materialize, and it’s uncertain if the RFA will open before Thursday. 

“The Commission will make all efforts to expedite the process but is unable to provide a specific timeline,” the NYSGC says on its website

Once the RFA opens, then companies have 30 days to apply before the application window closes, probably around Aug. 1. Platform licenses will be competitively bid by the NYSGC no later than 150 days after the final application is received. 

That timeline could put the state on track for a late December launch, but Addabbo says he’s optimistic that things will move more quickly.

“That’s still my hope,” he said. “That’s what I’m optimistic about.” 

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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