New York mobile sports betting was officially approved today as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2022 state budget. Work to bid out and license platforms and mobile skins starts now. But the licensing model will look different than many expected.
What that means is the New York Lottery — which Gov. Andrew Cuomo envisioned as a key player in New York mobile sports betting as recently as two days ago — has no licensing authority over mobile sports betting in the final legislation. All competitive bidding, licensing, and accountability will fall under the New York State Gaming Commission, which already oversees sports betting at four commercial casinos upstate.
The NYSGC will oversee the process of licensing companies to run mobile sports betting out of those same four casinos via servers tied to two licensed mobile sports betting platforms (think FanDuel and DraftKings) and operators (skins working with the platform).
Four statewide skins would be available, at a minimum. And the four commercial casinos?
That’s really a minimum, too. The NYSGC will solicit information from companies that want to operate three more licensed gaming facilities, probably downstate. Those licenses have gone unawarded since they were authorized by constitutional amendment in 2013.
The only mention of the New York Lottery — as it pertains to mobile sports betting — is as a repository for mobile sports betting revenues slated for public education.
The Licensing Process
- NYSGC will bid out platform licenses competitively through an application process that will begin no later than July 1, 2021. The application deadline would be no later than 30 days after the commission issues its application request.
- The commission would then select platform providers no later than 150 days after the final application is received.
- The two highest-scoring applications will receive licenses, with additional points given to applicants with an existing sports wagering agreement with Native American tribes or nations that have a state compact with New York.
- More licenses may be awarded by the commission “if it determines that such additional awards are in the best interests of the state,” per the legislation.
- Each platform provider must pay a one-time fee of $25 million, with a tax rate at or above 12% on gross gaming revenues from mobile sports betting through the platform.
- Licenses for platform providers would stay in effect for up to 10 years, with a chance for renewal.
Big Names In The Running
That puts a few industry leaders at the top of the list for New York mobile sports betting before the licensing process even begins. Those companies and their partners include:
- Kambi (Partner: Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino, Niagara Falls, NY; Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, Buffalo, NY; Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino, Salamanca, NY)
- Caesars/William Hill (Partner: Turning Stone Resort Casino, Verona, NY)
- FOX Bet (Partner: Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe)
Commercial retail sports betting partners in New York are FanDuel (Tioga Downs), DraftKings (del Lago Resort), BetRivers (Rivers Casino and Resort), and Bet365 (Resort World Catskills). Each of these also has an excellent chance for licensure based on requirements that any eligible platform be up and running very quickly — and be able to bring in revenue very quickly.
Key requirements for any platform wanting to operate New York mobile sports betting under the new legislation includes the following:
- Estimates of mobile sports wagering gross gaming revenue generated by the applicant under different scenarios
- Past experience and expertise in the market
- The applicant’s capacity to rapidly and effectively bring authorized sports bettors into its platform
Oneida Indian Nation Question
The Oneida Indian Nation has made it clear that it is disappointed with the legislation deal, which it says violates its agreement with the state to have exclusive gaming rights in a 10-county region in Central New York.
While the legislation allows mobile sports betting servers to be placed at upstate casinos, none of those casinos are run by Native American tribes. The only connection to tribal nations is the betting platforms, which would get a head start for mobile sports betting licensure under the new deal if they have a New York tribal partnership.
The tribe wants assurance that any revenue from mobile sports betting wagers placed in that region will be shared with the tribe. A statement released by the Nation last night makes it clear that the deal struck between Cuomo and state lawmakers doesn’t give that assurance.
It is unclear what that will mean for the $70 million in state revenue that the Oneida Indian Nation now pays New York state and localities annually from its six casino operations.
Projected State Revenue
New York officials project that the state will receive $100 million from mobile sports betting for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022. That revenue is expected to grow to $357 million in the second year, and to $500 million in the third year of operation.
When Will NY Sports Betting launch?
The final license application deadline is August 1, 2021. According to the bill, platform providers must be chosen no later than 150 days after the final application is received.
Given that timeline, the most likely scenario for New York mobile sports betting seems to be a launch just ahead of the 2022 Super Bowl. Of course, nothing is set in stone when it comes to sports betting legalization, so stay tuned for updates as NY’s story unfolds.