Update: On June 3, the NYSGC updated the Q&A document to clarify multiple points. You can view the updated doc here.
The New York State Gaming Commission has issued a Q&A document that clears up various points of confusion about the Empire State’s mobile sports betting market. The document is conveniently divided into sections covering everything from commercial casino relationships to online betting platforms, the licensing process, and tax rates.
Here are the highlights.
NY Mobile Sports Betting & Commercial Casinos
The very first question in the NYSGC’s document covers online sportsbooks and their relationship to the state’s commercial casinos. “A commercial casino must serve as a host for Mobile Sports Wagering servers and equipment.”
From there, the extent of the relationship is up in the air, as the two parties (casino and online sportsbook operator) can decide how they work together. For example, if a casino wants to offer online sports betting deposits and withdrawals at its cashier’s cage, the two parties can do so, subject to NYSGC approval.
The remaining questions in this section detail server location restrictions and security practices relating to the physical servers required to run an online sportsbook.
The Application Process
This is where things can get really confusing, as New York’s legislation has provided precious little clarity on the licensing and application process. The NYSGC’s document covers this in detail, and various aspects of the state’s licensing process are now more clear than they have been since the state introduced its sports betting bill.
First and foremost, a simple question with a simple answer. “As the mobile sports wagering market matures, will future operators be authorized?” To this, the NYSGC responds “No, not under the Commission’s interpretation of present law.”
But according to New York law, there will be a minimum of four sports betting skins available while two operating licenses will be granted. How those are doled out will depend largely on which companies apply and how.
Platform providers can apply together, but the $25 million license application fee applies to each of the involved providers.
“If platform provider A and platform provider B submit as a single bid, $50 million must be submitted. If platform provider C is added to the single bid, then $75 million must be submitted.”
Do NY Retail Sportsbooks Get Priority?
It’s important to note that New York’s existing retail sportsbook operators–DraftKings, FanDuel, Bet365, and BetRivers–do not get any special treatment in terms of the application process.
“Contracts between commercial casinos and operators of their in-house sports wagering will have no relevance to the RFA. The RFA is open to all qualified platform providers and operators, and awards will be made to the highest scoring applicants.”
In other words, New York sportsbooks that are already live at retail locations still have to apply separately, as do any new platform providers looking to get in on NY mobile sports betting.
Who Is A Platform Provider For NY Sports Betting?
Once applications are in and the review process (an estimated 150 wait once applications are received) commences, NY can expect the following:
- Two mobile sports betting platform providers, minimum
- Four mobile sports betting operators
According to the NYSGC, here’s the distinction between platform provider and operator:
“A platform provider must provide a system that, among other functionality, performs the acceptance and registration of all wagers; generation of all electronic wagering tickets; computation of wagering in the pool and payoffs; maintains records of all wagering activities; and generation of all reports required by the Commission.” A platform provider can also be an operator (skin).
Priority For Tribal Gaming
If a platform provider has a revenue share agreement in place with a New York tribal casino, that provider’s bid will be given additional point consideration when the bid is scored. The scoring criteria will be released at a later date, likely on the same day that applications open.
New York law allows Tribal properties to set the gambling age as low as 18, but the state will not allow sports bets to be placed by anyone under 21. The minimum age of 18 only applies to those specific casino properties and not online sports betting tethered to any of the properties.
More To Come
If you’re interested in learning more, check out the document itself, which covers more details including tax rates, Tribal exclusivity zones, and various other common NY sports betting questions.
Expect more developments in the coming weeks and months as details continue to surface.