Let’s get this out of the way: do not expect any big changes to the launch plans for mobile NY sports betting follow Tuesday’s news.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned after mounting pressure over multiple sexual harassment allegations. Cuomo was the driving force behind the model for online NY sportsbooks that eventually passed in the budget earlier this year.
But just because Cuomo is gone in 14 days does not change the laws on the books. It should not change the scheduled pace for mobile sportsbooks to launch, either, said Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr:
“Aside from the governor, he had good people working for him in terms of the Gaming Commission, in terms of budget, people I’ve dealt with. So I’m hoping they know their roles. … I don’t think there’s any reason why they can’t keep moving forward.”
There were six bids submitted by the Monday deadline, with three group bids and three solo bids.
Looking like 2022 launch for mobile NY sports betting
Addabbo is known for his optimism, but even he had to admit it is looking like a 2022 launch for mobile operators.
The New York State Gaming Commission would likely have to work faster than the Dec. 6 deadline to pick winners outlined in the RFA. Other potential winners would have a week to consider whether they want to meet the winning tax rate.
Winners would not get their licenses until the Gaming Commission’s next meeting. So it could be a stretch for sportsbooks to launch in time to offer regular-season NFL betting, which ends Jan. 9, 2022.
That said, his optimism won’t let him rule out a 2021 launch completely.
“Most likely [the] playoffs,” Addabbo said about a launch window. “Certainly before the Super Bowl, most likely the playoffs. But reasonable or doable before the end of the year? Yes.
“With a little initiative, with a little ingenuity and a little initiative, it can be done. Realistically, it’s probably playoffs, and again certainly by the Super Bowl. But with a little fire in the belly I think we can do it by the end of the year.”
Addabbo hopes for many skins but needs premier product
Addabbo always wanted New Yorkers to have plenty of options when it comes to mobile NY sports betting. His sports betting proposal with Assemblyman Gary Pretlow called for 14 skins. There could be as few as four depending on which bids win.
No matter how many sportsbooks eventually launch, the biggest need is that those operators launch premier products that will get New Yorkers to change how they are betting now, Addabbo said. That means no more offshore betting or out-of-state trips to bet with NJ sportsbooks.
“I always thought more skins the better but in the end when the dust settles on this product, we hope it’s that premier product we’re going to need to be successful in eclipsing New Jersey at some point,” Addabbo said.