Mobile NY Sports Betting Deal Leaves Architects As Confused As Everyone Else

Posted on April 8, 2021
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Written By on April 8, 2021

Want to really understand what’s going on with mobile NY sports betting? One of the people at the center of the compromise says you need to wait.

Mobile sports betting in New York was officially included in the state’s $200 billion budget Tuesday evening. The bill still needs to work its way through the legislative process, but mobile betting in the Empire State is essentially decided.

The state will issue a request for proposals for at least two platform providers, which will have a minimum of four total skins. Those two platform providers will share at least 50% of revenue with the state, but exactly what the structure looks like is, at best, confusing.

‘We’re all in the same boat’

Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr., one of the key voices in the mobile betting negotiations, agrees:

“Don’t feel bad, we’re all in the same boat. This is new breaking ground for New York, it’s uncharted territory and it’s terminology that even I’m still trying to grapple with. And like I said last night the budget ends and my work begins, delving into the language and how the structure works, and it’s new. … A lot of the answers will be determined going forward.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s plan is more complex than the legislation Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow proposed earlier in the year and again in their chamber budget proposals. It’s not a surprise, though, as Pretlow announced a week ago that mobile betting through Cuomo’s model would be the worst-case scenario this year.

Addabbo expects greatness for mobile NY sports betting

While the details are still fuzzy, Addabbo expects a successful mobile sports betting market in New York.

“I’m going to have confidence that we have a premier product because we are New York and there are those out there in the industry who definitely want to do business with New York and be a part of New York’s mobile sports betting,” Addabbo said. “We certainly have the potential to eclipse New Jersey at some point and the idea is to meet that potential.”

The timeline of when mobile betting will start is a moving target. The RFP is scheduled to start no later than July 1 with 30 days to accept applications. The New York State Gaming Commission then has 150 days to make a decision, though one could certainly happen sooner, Addabbo said.

Addabbo hopes to have a better idea of how the mobile NY sports betting market looks by the Super Bowl:

“Whenever we start mobile sports betting, the Super Bowl should be the benchmark because that is a major sports betting event and we’ll evaluate it after that. I hope at that point, and expect, that it is a very successful product and we will have great numbers come the Super Bowl and we move forward.”

Mobile NY sports betting open to anyone – sort of

One thing that is clear is the bidding is open to anyone. Addabbo said on a call with Susquehanna that the initial requirement in Cuomo’s plan of only allowing existing skin partners of New York’s commercial casinos was scrapped to increase flexibility.

That said, not just anyone will be the right fit:

“There is the criteria, though, that we have to consider: the criteria of speed to market, the expertise, the business that these providers may have done with other states, the ability to handle volume, the ability to work with New York. So I think these other criteria sort of narrow maybe the scope of these possible bidders.

“Again, I don’t think, my opinion, I don’t think that New York is looking for the novice provider, one looking to crack into this mobile sports betting industry. I think that’s the right perspective for New York to have, unique to it in the sense that it’s catching up to other states. So they’re not going to want the novice, they’re going to want the top premier provider so that, like I said, day one, we’re operating at hopefully a maximum potential.”

Model best for operators with multiple brands?

Anyone bidding to become a platform provider will need to have its skin partners decided before submitting their bid. Whether or not that skin has to operate on the winning platform is still unclear, though it sounds likely.

“Well, they have to have an arrangement with the provider,” Addabbo said. “The provider is going to take a skin or operator that it can work with. And I understand some providers will come with their own skins.”

That sounds ideal for a Flutter bid, which could select its FanDuel Sportsbook and Fox Bet brands as its skins. It is also a plus for Kambi, which has plenty of partners on its brand including Barstool Sportsbook, which has made it clear it wants to be in New York, and BetRivers, which is already affiliated with a casino in the state.

Matthew Waters Avatar
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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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