New York Gaming Commission selects nine mobile betting licensees

| By Robin Harrison
New York’s tender to award mobile sports betting licences has concluded with two bids - comprising nine operators - recommended for licences.
New York

At a commission meeting today (8 November), the winning bids were announced. The FanDuel-led consortium comprising DraftKings, BetMGM and Bally Bet was recommended, as was one of Kambi’s two proposals – involving Caesars Sportsbook, PointsBet, Resorts World, Rush Street Interactive and Wynn Bet. The latter consortium is also aligned with the Oneida Indian Nation and Saint Regis Mohawk Tribes. 

At the meeting, a 51% gross revenue tax rate was confirmed for all participants – in line with the tax matrix published last month – with all operators to pay a $25m fee for their ten-year licences. 

The tender process launched in July this year. Facilitated by the state’s FY2022 budget, which set out plans for a tax rate of at least 12% – though a rate of at least 50% scored significantly higher in the request for proposal (RFP) – it ultimately saw six bids lodged. 

Alongside the winning FanDuel- and Kambi-led proposals was a rival proposal led by Kambi, featuring Penn National Gaming and sports merchandise retailer Fantatics. TheScore, which has since been acquired by Penn National, and Bet365 also put forward solo bids. 

Many operators involved in the winning bids have hailed the process, with PointsBet the first to issue its statement. 

“Today’s news of being recommended by the New York State Gaming Commission marks an exciting moment for us at PointsBet,” chief executive Johnny Aitken said. “Having the potential to secure market access to New York state – expected to be one of the largest and most important markets in the United States – represents another major milestone for our company, our brand, and our technology. 

“We eagerly await the official opportunity to leverage our exclusive sports betting partnership with NBC Sports and introduce the nation’s premier sports betting product to the countless passionate, sports-loving New Yorkers.”

Caesars said it had already established a presence in the tai-state area, including through its three retail sportsbooks at Oneida Nation properties, and was “uniquely positioned” to bring an incredible product to the market. 

“We’re pleased to have been recommended for a licence by the New York State Gaming Commission, and we thank Governor Kathy Hochul, the State Legislature, and the NYSGC for their continued leadership in making mobile sports wagering available to the Empire State.”

WynnBet, meanwhile, noted that New Yorkers make up a “significant portion” of its Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Boston Harbour databases. “[We] look forward to giving those customers more ways to earn and use Wynn Rewards,” Wynn Interactive chief executive Craig Billings commented. “We also look forward to meeting and engaging with new customers in the state via WynnBet.”

Bally’s Corporation chair Soo Kim pointed out that New York had become the most populous state to enable online wagering. “This licence advances our overall market footprint and marks the latest milestone on our journey towards becoming the leading omni-channel gaming provider in the US,” he continued. “Above all, we look forward to providing New York’s devoted fan base with engaging, best-in-class, sports betting experiences.”

Meanwhile Senator Joseph Addabbo, a long-term advocate for mobile sports betting alongside Assemblymember Gary Pretlow, said that with operators selected, the focus was now on ensuring New York operators were able to compete with neighbouring states.

“I am confident that with the announced, credible winning bids, we have the potential of eclipsing other states in mobile sports betting handle, raise significant revenues and funding for education and youth sports, while effectively addressing the problem gaming issue,” he said. “Of utmost importance remains the timeframe for the servers that validate the mobile bets to be up and running, ready to take New York’s first mobile sports bets in January and in time for the 2022 Super Bowl.”

Addabbo and Pretlow, alongside New York Governor Kathy Hochul, were thanked by multiple operators including DraftKings, whose chief executive Jason Robins also thanked the Gaming Commission for selecting his business.

“We appreciate the efforts of Governor Hochul, Senator Addabbo and Assemblyman Pretlow and look forward to bringing our top-ranked DraftKings mobile and online sportsbook to the millions of sports fans in the state, pending licensure and regulatory approvals,” Robins said.

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