Much was made about New York being a “crown jewel” in the weeks and months leading up to the Jan. 8 debut of mobile sports betting in the state.
The notion was New York was the most-populated state to launch. It was only fourth in population, but the top two — California and Texas — did not have sports betting. And Florida, No. 3, was tied up in the courts after a limited stint taking bets at Hard Rock Casino.
But could this have been expected by today, the two-month anniversary of New York sports betting?
- A month shortened to 24 days (Jan. 8-Jan. 31) pulverizing the national sports monthly handle record with $1.69 billion?
- A total of $3.16 billion in handle from Jan. 8 thru the end of February.
- Eight of nine operators already operational, with the last one, BallyBet New York, set to launch next month.
- One operator, FanDuel New York, already surpassing the $1 billion mark ($1.07 billion, to be more specific) in action from Jan. 8 thru the end of February.
- A sum of $104.39 million in taxes during the above span already going to the state, money that will, in the words of Gov. Kathy Hochul, “be driving significant funding to our schools, youth sports and so much more.”
Let’s assess some of the positives and negatives from the first two months.
TAKING THE GOOD
Credit does need to be given to Gov. Hochul, who has been much more bullish on sports betting than her predecessor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Even more so, state Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. and State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow merit praise as they never have wavered and have seen a dream fulfilled.
Addabbo and Pretlow would agree much more work needs to be done and they are on the case by pushing legislation to expand gaming and add more operators, which, in turn, potentially would lower the 51% tax rate, tied with New Hampshire for highest in the nation.
It also has been reassuring to see how neighboring states have performed since New York got started. In short, the wheels did not come off. Far from it.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have not only kept up with handle but have gained new customers and interest. New Jersey ($1.35 billion) and Pennsylvania ($793.7 million) actually posted new monthly state record handles in January.
ASSESSING THE BAD
There have been signs of concern, though.
For instance, the four upstate commercial casinos were bound to suffer. So far, they have.
Those casinos are Rivers Casino in Schenectady, Del Lago in Waterloo, Resorts World Catskills in Monticello and Tioga Downs in Nichols. With mobile sports betting in place and with a possibility of three downstate casinos to come into play soon, attendance and numbers at the four casinos are dwindling. Hopefully, those retail sportsbooks and casinos can bounce back.
Here’s also hoping the onslaught of commercials slows down. Enough already.
It will be very interesting to see how sports betting numbers fare through March Madness and the quieter months ahead. Major League Baseball can only hurt if the labor situation remains unresolved.