When will legal online sports betting launch in New York?
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Robert Linnehan

If you’ve tried to read through New York’s approved online sports betting plan and still have questions, congratulations. You’re just like the majority of us who still are searching for answers in the state’s approved deal.

While some details are clear, there are still several questions about the NY online sports betting plan that need answers.

 

When will NY Online Sports Betting Begin?

The question most state gamblers undoubtedly have. When will the New York online sports betting plan actually start to take bets? When can New Yorkers download an app to their mobile phone and start making wagers?

We have a general timeline of when the process can begin. The state will issue a request for applications for platform providers by at least July 1, and interested parties will enter into a competitive bidding process. The bid package window will be open for 30 days and then the New York Gaming Commission will have 150 days to select two providers to lead the state’s online betting charge.

While July 1 is the latest a request for applications can be made, and it’s conceivable the gaming commission could make a decision quicker than the allotted 150 days, when has any decision in the state government been made at an accelerated rate? The 150 day decision window is there for a reason. At that pace if all bids are received by the beginning of August, 150 days would put the state firmly at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.

It is possible the state accelerates measures to take advantage of the upcoming NFL and college football seasons, but it would have to hustle to get everything online and moving.

This also does not take into account how long a platform provider would need to get up and running. DraftKings took a month to bring New Hampshire’s online betting plan up to speed.

 

How Many NY Sportsbook Apps Will Be Available?

A big point of confusion in New York’s online sports betting plan is the difference between platform providers and the minimum of four “mobile sports wagering operators” that must partner with the providers. The New York Gaming Commission will choose bids based on potential platform providers’ gross revenue estimates, the tax rate it’s willing to pay the state, past experienced in the field, a timeline of its potential operations and its willingness to enter into revenue sharing agreements with the state’s Native American tribes or nations.

The platform providers, from what we understand, can be any type of entity, such as state casino, a tribal casino, a sportsbook operator, a technology company, anything with experience in the field. The winning platform providers will pay the state a one-time $25 million fee for a license.

Each bid package submitted to the gaming commission must include four potential mobile sports wagering operators, or skins, the platform providers would be willing to work with. Who may these be though? Why would the platform operators be willing to bring in more than four additional skins into the market? It’s unknown at this point how much a mobile sports wagering operator license will cost.

How will these skins be chosen to partner with the platform providers? It will certainly limit the amount of sportsbook choices New York gamblers will have.

 

How Do The NY Tribal Nations Fit In?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo stressed the New York online sports betting plan would include the tribal nations and give them access to online sports betting revenue, but how this is possible is unclear.

The plan’s description in the state FY 2022 revenue bill noted platform providers willing to include Tribal Nations in its bid package or to enter into a revenue sharing agreement would receive special consideration from the gaming commission, but how would that work? Tribal nations will be able to participate in the bid process themselves, but if they’re not chosen how will they be brought into the online betting plan?

The Oneida Nation released a statement to the Buffalo News earlier this week noting its disappointment in the NY online sports betting plan:

We are disappointed and believe the legislation is a step backwards, as the State apparently expects the Oneida Indian Nation to bid for the right to offer mobile sports betting within our own 10-county zone, for which the Nation already pays the state and localities about $70 million per year for gaming exclusivity pursuant to our 2013 Settlement Agreement. The Nation had worked hard with multiple parties to negotiate a compromise that worked for everyone, and was approved by the Assembly and the Senate, and endorsed by all of the tribal and commercial casinos. It is unfortunate that the State has chosen instead to take such an unbalanced approach that will unnecessarily hurt our region. We remain open to discussing workable solutions when the state is prepared to do so.