Sports bettors still can’t place mobile wagers on the World Series or NFL in New York, but that doesn’t mean progress isn’t being made.
Yes, it’s frustrating that New York hasn’t yet implemented mobile sports betting, and the target date of 2022 seems far away. State and industry leaders, however, are laying the groundwork for what should be one of the biggest and most anticipated launches of mobile sports betting the United States has seen.
In August the state released a list of sports betting license applicants, which set off a flurry of speculation on which sportsbooks will be in place early next year when New York flips the switch on mobile sports betting.
In a move earlier this month that shows significant emphasis being placed on the up-and-coming industry, New York-based Sharp Alpha Advisors announced the closing of Sharp Alpha Fund I — an oversubscribed $10 million venture capital fund that will invest in early-stage sports betting technology companies.
Sharp Alpha Advisors Managing Partner Lloyd Danzig said making an early investment in the sports betting industry is the best approach.
“Not only is the sports betting industry at an inflection point, but market leaders are choosing to buy rather than build at every turn,” Danzig said. “With M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) serving as the primary mechanism through which operators achieve differentiation and vertical integration, it is a great time to underwrite next-gen infrastructure.”
Sportsbook Operators Also Making Moves
Sportsbooks are angling for the debut of mobile sports betting, too.
Last month, WynnBET was named official gaming partner of the New York Jets, and the sportsbook operator is planning a lavish sports betting lounge at MetLife Stadium for the 2022-23 NFL season. In addition, MSG Networks is planning to expand its sports betting programming. MSG airs games for the Knicks, Islanders, Rangers, Devils, and Sabres.
According to reporting by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, New York officials estimate that mobile sports betting could generate half a billion in tax revenue annually and that overall sports betting in the state, including retail sportsbooks, could rise past $1 billion.
A survey by EmpireStake.com showed that three out of four sports bettors in New York have traveled across state lines to place bets and that 63% of New York sports bettors intend to place wagers at least once a week. In addition to football and basketball, Major League Soccer also has a strong following in New York with followers showing a higher level of interest in mobile sports betting than even fans of the NFL do.
Status of Mobile Sports Betting in New York
Ever since sports betting was legalized in the Empire State in April 2021, sports fans in that sports-crazy region have been eager to place bets. New York City is home to six major professional sports teams and dozens of college programs. But because it has been hampered by the pandemic and squabbles at the legislative level, the regulatory process has been painstakingly slow.
Finally, in July, the New York State Gaming Commission issued a Request For Applications (RFA) for sportsbook operators. That governing body is expected to grant mobile gaming licenses in early December, but by then it will be far too late for mobile sports betting to be operational for the current NFL regular season.
Regulators hope to have mobile sports betting open for business prior to Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022.
Sports fans in New York can currently place legal sports bets at retail sportsbooks located in the state, or they can cross state lines to New Jersey, Connecticut, or Pennsylvania to place bets via mobile apps.