New Info Tough To Glean From New Mobile NY Sports Betting Answers

Posted on July 23, 2021
NY sports betting
Posted By on July 23, 2021

It came down to the wire but a mobile NY sports betting deadline was eventually hit Thursday evening by the state’s regulators.

The New York State Gaming Commission released a 29-page Q&A between potential applicants and the commission concerning the mobile betting RFA.

The Q&A is the first of two opportunities for hopeful participants in the online New York sports betting market to clarify the RFA, which launched eight days past statutory deadline on July 9.

Not all of the 29 pages contained new information. The commission already published two Q&As before the RFA launched, and some of those issues were rehashed in this release.

The next deadline in the process is Tuesday when the next set of questions is due by 3 pm Eastern. Those answers will be posted Aug. 2, a week before all applications are due by 4 pm Aug. 9.

Collusion confusion in mobile NY sports betting bids

One of the longest responses given by the NYSGC concerned a request to provide guidance on non-collusive bidding:

“The purpose of the non-collusive bidding prohibition is to prevent tax rate collusion among applicants. The RFA process is intended to foster a competitive process among parties seeking to operate Mobile Sports Wagering for the benefit of New York State. Collusion among potential bidders concerning a submitted tax rate would be contrary to State interests, hence its prohibition. For clarity, the non-collusive prohibitions are to prevent Applicant-to-Applicant collusion, not to prohibit discussion of tax rates among Platform Providers and Operators within a single application.”

In a nutshell, the commission is telling platform providers and operators they cannot craft bids to stay within a certain tax range they know other bids are suggesting. This is more than a bit tricky because platform providers and operators are free to engage in multiple bids.

New York is looking for at least a 50% revenue share. That could hit 60% or more for the winning bid, according to some in the industry.

Figure out your own confidentiality, kids

There were a few questions asking how private details will be handled in these bids. After all, the bidding process essentially allows competitors to team up and bid together. That does not mean they want to share all of their trade secrets, of course.

Take a hypothetical bid including FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. The two clearly work with each other – lobbying efforts are typically combined, like in Florida. But financial details and trade secrets will be included in bids, which one might not want the other to see.

Protecting that information is not a concern for the commission, though:

“Confidentiality among applicant partners should be addressed among such parties.”

RFA process still being figured out

Despite being eight days late, the RFA was not launched with all the details figured out.

One question was asked about the oral presentation process: will speakers be limited to just the primary applicant or can others speak as well?

“The necessity for, along with structure and format of any oral presentations, will be determined after Applications are received,” the commission replied.

No changes after winning NY sports betting license – probably

More questions about what can be changed after winning were asked this time, too:

  • The first question listed asks if a platform provider can add more operators after the platform receives its license. That is not being contemplated, the commission responded, which seems pretty obvious.
  • Could a platform provider eventually add more operators, though? That is not being considered “at this time,” the commission said.
  • No one can sub-license an operator license that is won.
  • A clarification from a previous question asked led to some new information, though. While platform providers and operators are expected to maintain the relationship described in the application for the entire length of the license, operators might be allowed to swap platform providers if it will benefit the state financially.

A bit more scoring info for NY sports betting bids

There were multiple questions asked trying to get a glimpse into how the scoring process might shake out beyond the information provided in the RFA. The commission, though, was not budging.

“There is no publicly available list and scoring criteria beyond those set forth within the RFA,” the commission responded to multiple questions concerning scoring details.

The NYSGC did, however, clarify how points for the revenue share work. The RFA lists a value for certain ranges, such as 15 points for a revenue share between 40% and 50%.

That table was amended in the Q&A to add “up to” before the values. Now it’s clear that a bid offering 40% will not get the same 15 points a bid of 49% would get.

Operating a New York casino not automatically a plus

Significant capital investments in New York, like building a casino, could be a bonus of some sort, right?

Wrong, says the commission:

“An Applicant would need to demonstrate that its Application is enhanced by such affiliation for the affiliation to impact scoring evaluation.”

Will winners be protected at renewal time?

Applicants are expected to bid blindly without knowing what the renewal process looks like, it seems.

The commission said it has not established a renewal process to four separate questions.

That included a general question of how the process will work, whether platform providers will owe another $25 million license fee and if the RFA process will be repeated.

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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