Senator Addabbo: Lottery Could Be a NY Mobile Sports Betting Platform

New York mobile sports betting has been legal for less than 48 hours, but speculation about what platforms will be selected for a sportsbook launch is already underway.

One possible contender? The New York Lottery.

That’s the word from key New York mobile sports betting negotiator Sen. Joe Addabbo, who told NY Sports Day yesterday that “anyone” able to meet eligibility criteria in the budget bill could be a successful bidder. Addabbo gave the response when asked if a platform provider could be a government entity, like the state lottery. 

Credibility Is Key, Says Addabbo

“I think it’s broad enough that it can be anyone who can show it’s a credible operator,” said Addabbo. “So, it could be an entity in business, it could be somebody who is partnered with someone.”

Credibility, as spelled out in the budget language, means a platform provider is able to maximize “sustainable, long-term revenue for the state, and “rapidly and effectively” get a platform online.

That could be a good fit for the 55-year-old New York Lottery, which has over 16,000 retailers statewide.

“Our mind is that, I think, it should be anyone,” said Addabbo. “The quicker we go forward – without doing it haphazardly – the quicker we go forward and implement mobile sports betting in New York, the better for the people of our state.”

It will be up to the New York State Gaming Commission to make the final determination.

2022 Super Bowl Is The Goal

The application deadline for licensees is August 1, 2021, with platforms selected no later than 150 days later. That pushes the last possible date for a mobile sports betting launch under the bill to late December.

Addabbo is hopeful that the process will move more quickly, allowing New Yorkers to bet on the NFL when the 2021-22 season kicks off Sept. 9. But being live by the 2022 Super Bowl is the ultimate goal.

“The Super Bowl is where sports betting in general, or certainly mobile sports betting, is relevant,” said Addabbo. “So, we don’t want to miss the Super Bowl.

“And you know, it’d be a good test, a good benchmark for New York state to meet. To see what kind of response we get at the Super Bowl, and see where we’re at in terms of our model of mobile sports betting,” he added.

New York missed out on potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in mobile sports wagers this year by not having mobile sportsbooks launched in time for Super Bowl LV. FanDuel CEO Matt King called the 2021 game “the biggest sporting event in our history and we think in the country’s history from a legalized sports betting perspective.”

Other Possible NY Mobile Platforms

Private companies like FanDuel (Tioga Downs), DraftKings (del Lago Resort), BetRivers (Rivers Casino), and other sportsbooks now operating at upstate commercial casinos where mobile betting servers will be located could be an easy-in for platform licenses.

Other possible licensees are companies that have partnered with New York tribal casinos to offer retail sports wagering. Those partners will be given additional points by the NYSGC in scoring of applicants for platform licenses.

At least two platforms will be in the running for New York mobile sports betting initially. A two-platform minimum is written into the fiscal year (FY) 2022 state budget approved this week. Addabbo said more providers could be added by the NYSGC later.

“When (Gov. Andrew Cuomo) first mentioned this back in January, it was one provider, one or two providers. But this is part of the budget negotiations,” said Addabbo.

“You and I can’t even talk about mobile sports betting in New York without the governor’s office and the Senate and the Assembly willing to move away from their vision of what they were proposing in terms of mobile sports betting, and willing to negotiate,” he added.

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