By the time the end of January 2022 rolls around, lots of decisions and predictions made in 2021 will have yet to have their consequences played out. Back in July 2020, for instance, the New York Times foretold the end of business trips in 2022, the permanent closure of some universities, theatres, and sports franchises, and new hope for politics in the United States.
Yet, at the same time, the same columnist conceded that there was a chance that nothing would change at all. We’ll let you be the judge of how accurate those early predictions turned out to be.
Behind the Times
One thing will have (almost definitely) changed by the end of 2022’s opening month, though – the legality of mobile sports betting in the City of Dreams. In the middle of November, the New York State Register built the framework for the legalization of mobile sports betting by outlining the rules for its establishment and handing out the appropriate paperwork to nine sportsbooks, albeit on conditional approval. Operators will have to abide by a handful of unexpected rules, however.
For one, all servers used by sportsbooks can only be located in four places, chiefly, inside the four casinos in New York that are allowed to take sports bets in-person. This means that DraftKings and bet365 will operate out of Del Lago Resort and Resorts World Catskills, respectively, while Betfair and FanDuel will live out of Tioga Downs. BetRivers, Rush Street Interactive, and Kambi Group will set up shop in Rivers Casino, which accepted the first-ever sports bet in NYC back in 2019.
It’s a monumental development considering that legislators have only been amendable to removing the ban on mobile sports betting since May 2018, when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (1992) was put to the sword and everything we’ve discussed so far became a possibility. Considering how quickly rival states like New Jersey, Philadelphia, Colorado, and West Virginia have set up their own sportsbook and casino operations, though, New York might be considered a bit behind the times.
In any case, it’s time to look beyond January.
A Bold Prediction
Due to its late entry into the online wagering scene, New York faces a great deal of competition from those same states, even though many of the operators in New Jersey and Colorado (etc.) will also serve New York. This may give the Empire State a bit of an advantage, however, due to the fact that all these other places act as working examples of a healthy sports betting market. New Jersey, in particular, recently became a record-breaking state as far as income from wagering is concerned.
In 2021, New Jersey become the first state in US history to make $1bn from sports betting, something that New York will seek to emulate. Optimistic commentators already believe that the Big Apple and the wider state have the potential to, not just compete with, but to earn more from mobile wagering than New Jersey. It’s a bold prediction not least because the Garden State has several years on New York’s aspirations and a well-established market of hungry sports fans.
However, New York has arguably a bigger audience for sports-related content than New Jersey. If we ignore the fact that the former state has an extra 11m people than New Jersey does, an entirely unscientific list by Bleacher Report suggested that no city from New Jersey makes the top 25 of the best places to be a sports fan. New York, with the Knicks, Rangers, Yankees, Mets, and Islanders all found somewhere in the state, ranked number five.
Of course, that’s all subjective.
It’s worth noting that it took New Jersey just one month to open up its sports betting operation and, as revenue to date suggests, it’s the biggest state for wagering in the country. Six months later, in November 2021, Pennsylvania followed but has yet to get beyond a handful of operators. PA does have a useful statistic associated with it, though. Upwards of 60% of all sports bets have been placed online within the last few years, meaning that New York is branching out into the best industry at the best time.
Mississippi and Nevada also have a large appetite for sports betting, as does West Virginia. The latter state exposed the problem with placing too many bets in one basket, after the closure of its first sportsbook, BetLucky, left the local market in disarray. With established brands like bet365, Betfair, and FanDuel within its midst, New York will probably avoid any teething problems caused by the operators themselves.
Of course, regulators do create concerns of their own, especially by imposing restrictions on what can and can’t be wagered on. In New York, sports fans won’t be allowed to bet on events in college sport featuring an in-state university. This rule excludes Albany and Syracuse from sportsbooks, even if they happen to be playing in a different state or country.
What’s interesting is that Pennsylvania has no such limitations and accepts bets on college teams regardless of where they are or where they come from.
Finally, while having servers physically located within bricks-and-mortar casinos might seem overly restrictive, it may come with some unexpected benefits for local players. In New Jersey, for example, BetMGM allows bettors to credit their online accounts at the casino cage, which makes things easier for people who can’t or don’t want to share their payment details online. Of course, this option is only really valid for sports fans who live close to a casino or are willing to travel.
Overall, New York’s future as a sportsbook state looks promising, even if its late arrival means that it might not be able to overcome the influence of New Jersey for some time.