New York is one of the largest states in the US, with around 20 million people. But despite this vast population, it’s surprising that online casino and sports betting is yet to kick off in The Big City. Fortunately, after months of back-and-forth between the governor and legislatures, online and mobile sports betting is finally set to launch in NYC.
The 2022 fiscal year budget read on April 7, 2021, by Governor Andrew Cuomo included legislation for online sports betting. He said that legalizing this activity will go a long way towards funding the $212 billion budget.
It’s important to note that sports betting in New York’s land-based casinos went live in June 2019, generating millions of dollars in revenue. Observers believe that the addition of online gambling will contribute to up to 90% of the state’s betting handle. State officials envisage opening the online sports betting market by September 2021, just ahead of the football season.
As expected, the new law comes with strings attached. For starters, the New York online sports betting is legal only if the punter is ‘physically’ present in the state at the time of play. This prevents any confusion that might arise from interstate transactions subject to federal regulations.
In addition to that, the new law compels the New York Gaming Commission to select two mobile sports betting operators after a competitive and transparent bidding process. However, the Commission is at liberty to license more mobile sports betting operators if it’s in the best “interest” of NY. The operating license will cost a hefty $25 million fee renewable every ten years.
Meanwhile, mobile sports betting operators will pay a minimum of 12% revenue tax, with in-person casinos offering this service paying 10%. The law adds that this revenue tax is payable at least monthly. Casinos offering online sports wagering services will submit an annual report to the State Gaming Commission.
As if these conditions aren’t enough, mobile sports betting operators must comply with multiple other licensure requirements. For example, the operator will ensure that gamblers only own a single betting account and the bets are placed from within the NY State. Also, it’s illegal to run adverts misleading players about the winning betting odds.
Currently, multiple notable names are considered favorites to pioneer the NY online gambling industry. That’s because these names are already in successful partnership with legal land-based casinos in the state that offer online sports betting services. They include:
Like said before, the road to any form of online gambling in The Big City had been a bumpy one. In 1998, the state approved the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, allowing up to three Native American Tribal Casinos to open seven land-based casino locations. It took another quarter-century for NY legislatures to approve seven non-tribal casino locations. Today, the state boasts more than twelve physical casino locations.
It’s expected that the State Gaming Commission will prepare laws to pave the way for online casino operations soon enough. Most industry experts expect the license fees and other requirements to mirror those in place for sportsbooks. It’s also likely that many sportsbooks already operating in the state will line up to add online and mobile casinos to their roster. So, it’s a matter of wait-and-see!
As it stands, the NY online sports betting industry stands on solid ground. However, the deal has many unanswered questions. For instance, it’s not yet clear the maximum number of bookmakers that can operate in the market. Also, tribal exclusion can backfire in the long run. For instance, the Oneida tribe has already threatened to suspend its casino slot payments if not included in online sports betting. All in all, expect a lot of changes in the future.