New York State gaming regulators will meet in Schenectady on Monday to consider licensing of mobile sports betting platforms after a methodic vetting over the past four months.
But down in Queens, New York State Sen. Joe Addabbo is being careful with his opinions about what action the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) will take on Nov. 8.
When asked by Gaming Today on Friday if the agenda item “Mobile Sports Wagering Consideration of License Recommendation” scheduled for hearing by the NYSGC on Monday means licenses will be issued next week, Addabbo kept a poker face.
“It could be an update, it could be a request for information, or it could be a major announcement,” said the Senator in a morning call. “I’m going to be watching just like everyone else. I personally believe that it’s positive news, that we are certainly closer to the goal line in terms of witnessing our first mobile bet in New York, hopefully by January sometime and well before the February Super Bowl.”
The Senator And The NYSGC
It’s a modest take by Addabbo, the New York State Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Chair and one of a handful of lawmakers who helped negotiate mobile sports betting through New York’s fiscal year 2022 state budget. The Howard Beach Democrat has seemingly followed the state’s regulatory process every step of the way.
When the NYSGC missed a state-imposed July 1 deadline to release its RFA for mobile sports betting applications, Addabbo’s office in Howard Beach released a statement calling the initial deadline slip “disappointing,” and adding that the Senator was “gathering more information on the situation.” The next week, on July 9, the NYSGC released the RFA.
Addabbo said Friday that he remains optimistic that the NYSGC can get New York mobile sports betting up and running by the 2022 Super Bowl, if not before. But the Senator said that will require more than licensing of platforms — the NYSGC also needs to ensure the servers that will accept mobile bets through four upstate casinos are in place, tested, and operational.
Addabbo: Servers Must Be Fully Operational At Launch
Mobile sports betting in New York will be run out of four upstate commercial casinos, with each casino receiving a $5 million annual hosting fee paid by the sports betting platforms.
Which casino hosts which server will be decided by the NYSGC, according to the July 9 RFA. Addabbo said those servers need to be fully operational at launch.
“You can pick all the providers and operators you want, but if you don’t have servers that accept the mobile bet and put them in place in the licensed casinos, and work out the contracts there and the programming of these servers, then everything else is meaningless,” Addabbo told Gaming Today. “I keep stressing to the (NYSGC) that I appreciate them being on time, but to be mindful that the servers are equally important as the gaming providers and operators.”
Again, Addabbo said he is optimistic that the servers will be in working order when New York mobile goes live.
But he made it clear New York has a lot to lose if there are major glitches — specifically billions of mobile sports betting handle now going to New Jersey, which controls an estimated 20-25 percent of the New York mobile sports betting market.
“To recapture that money … we need to be successful,” he said. “That’s why I want it up and running well before the Super Bowl because the Super Bowl is the benchmark, in my opinion.” he said.
Next Steps For Mobile Sports Betting in New York?
Could New York mobile sports betting launch sooner than the 2022 Super Bowl, possibly as soon as next month? Maybe, said Addabbo. He’s just watching to see what happens, for now.
“I’m enthusiastic, I’m excited about what lies ahead,” says the Senator.