New York yesterday announced the primary players in its mobile sports betting bidding race. Five big names head the list, but only two — Kambi and FOX Bet — have a tribal link that could give them an edge. Other bids include some strange bedfellows in an otherwise competitive sports betting industry.
Rival Companies Partner To Take The Lead
Most sports bettors don’t care what corporate name or technology is behind their mobile betting app. They know the retail brand name of the app on their phone and not the corporate name behind it. That’s what makes this announcement from the New York State Gaming Commission so confusing. To any NY bettor curious about what apps they will have available to them on the launch of mobile apps in New York, it’s difficult to parse out.
According to the list published by the NYSGC, there are 6 bidding groups, several of which include otherwise rival betting apps, hoping to be pushed to the front of the pack. According to the Request for Application published last month, the NYSGC will approve at least 2 platforms and a minimum of 4 apps out of this list of 6.
The list includes:
- Kambi – Bid includes Fanatics Sportsbook and Penn Sports (Barstool)
- Betfair dba FanDuel – Bid includes Bally Bet, BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel
- FOX Bet
- Kambi – Bid includes Caesars, Resorts World, PointsBet, Rush Street (BetRivers), and WynnBET
Most interesting in this list, though, is the bid that includes otherwise rivals FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Bally’s. Three of these companies together make up the largest share of sports betting revenue in the US. The other, Bally’s, has spent much of 2021 announcing partnerships with the likes of MLB, WNBA, and even AVP Beach Volleyball setting itself up for huge expansion in the second half of the year.
Preference For Bids Linked To Tribal Partners
Overall market share, though, is not the only way to earn points under the complicated NY RFA process. Partnership with a tribal casino located in New York State is also a factor.
Kambi’s bidding partners include Caesars Sports, which has a retail partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation at its Turning Stone, Point Place, and Yellow Brick Road casinos in upstate New York. The industry is currently watching to see if the retail relationship between Caesars and the tribe will lead to a mobile sports betting partnership. Caesars is riding a high after it rebranded the William Hill sportsbook apps in almost a dozen states just last week.
The other New York tribal casino with a live retail sportsbook is Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in Hogansburg. That casino is partnered with FOX Bet, which has applied for a New York mobile platform provider spot through its parent company, TSG Interactive.
Although a brick-and-mortar sportsbook agreement doesn’t equal a revenue-sharing agreement for mobile sports betting, it’s hard to see how an existing business relationship — if it’s a good one — could hurt a company’s chances for a mobile deal.
Multiple Bids, One Prize
Kambi and FOX Bet, plus Kambi’s bidding partners, have much to gain here. After all, only applicants or their bidding partners that have a revenue-sharing agreement with a New York tribal nation are eligible for five bonus points in overall scoring. Those points add up, considering some estimates showing New York’s total gross gaming revenue from mobile sports betting could add up to around $1 billion annually.
First, there’s Caesars — one of seven partners split between two applications filed by Kambi for a piece of the Big Apple’s mobile market, and the only Kambi application partner with a retail sportsbook at a New York tribal casino.
Joining Caesars on the largest Kambi consortium application is Resorts World, PointsBet, Rush Street, and WynnBET. The second Kambi application includes partners Fanatics Sportsbook and Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool). Each application will be scored separately, per the NYSGC, “irrespective of the score obtained by another Application containing that Platform Provider.”
Kambi will be competing with another primary applicant FanDuel and its application partners DraftKings, BetMGM, and Bally’s for a spot in the market. Rounding out the list of applicants are bet365, FOX Bet, and theSCORE Bet — the latest Penn National acquisition.
Next Steps In The Launch Of Mobile Betting In New York
The following is the tentative timeline for the selection of winning platform providers by the New York State Gaming Commission. For now, no launch appears likely this year.
- Sept. 1 – Oral Presentations of Applicants May Begin
- Dec. 6 – Tentative Deadline For Selection of Applicants Considered for Licensure
- Award of Licenses at the following NYSGC Meeting (anticipated)